National TV contestant’s combat injury claims in question
America’s Got Talent contestant Timothy Michael Poe has found himself at the center of controversy after reports indicate he may have lied on national television about suffering injuries while deployed in Afghanistan.
Poe, a former sergeant in the Minnesota National Guard, recently appeared on America’s Got Talent and dazzled the judges with his crooning, country-tinged voice. He then told judges that he had spent 14 years in the military, and went on to recount a story of being injured in Afghanistan by a rocket-propelled grenade. Poe claimed the attack left him with a broken back and brain injuries.
Poe’s Audition (including his claims of injury):
“I had volunteered for a team to go out and clear buildings and help out with the wounded,” Poe recounted during the show. “There was a guy who comes up with a rocket-propelled grenade. I saw it coming down, and by the time I turned and went to jump on top of my guys, I yelled `grenade’ and the blast had hit me.”
While recalling his injury to the show’s celebrity judges, Poe said “When I was laying there I thought I’d never see my daughter walk down the aisle or throw the baseball with my son or be able to hold them and see them. … I didn’t want my life to be over.”
Poe, 35, of San Antonio, Texas, also told WFAA-TV of Dallas that he was injured by an IED while serving in Iraq in 2005.
The Minnesota National Guard, however, is having trouble corroborating Poe’s claims.
Lt. Col Kevin Olson, working as a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, has claimed that there are no official records documenting that Poe was injured in Iraq, or that he ever even deployed there. Olson says records indicate Poe was sent to Camp Shelby in Mississippi “for pre-mobilization training on Sept. 21, 2005, but ultimately did not deploy.”
The military’s records indicate Poe served with the Minnesota National Guard from December 2002 until May 2011. Poe worked as a supply specialist, and served in Afghanistan in 2009 for about one month. Records indicate he left Afghanistan due to an ear problem. In 2011 Poe was honorably discharged due to a physical disability.
Olson said none of Poe’s military records currently support his claim of receiving combat injuries while deployed. Olson went on to say that other reports show Poe may have suffered an injury in July 2009 at Indiana’s Camp Atterbery while training there, and this injury led to his medical discharge. This injury occurred before Poe deployed to Afghanistan.
“We looked very closely at his record,” Olson told The Associated Press. “We did not find something to substantiate what he said.”
“If Mr. Poe has additional information to support his claims, we welcome it, and we will also continue to investigate and if appropriate, pursue a correction to his medical records and status,” Olson wrote in a statement to the press.
Katy Edwards, the sister of Poe’s ex-girlfriend, recently was quoted as saying that “he never actually fought in Afghanistan. He did break his back but it was in Georgia when he was in training to go on a deployment. On this particular deployment he landed in Afghanistan, got an ear infection and was medevac’d out to Germany. While in Germany he refused to go back to the war and was brought back to the United States. His unit lost a soldier that deployment and are incredibly upset by the stories he made up.”
While Poe has been steadfast in defending that his “retirement orders say disability resulted from a combat-related injury,” he has been unable to provide proof of his claims.
Poe has recently said that he “never intended to hurt anyone” with his claims that he was injured while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Carrie Morris, Poe’s fiancé, has stated that Poe has had memory problems since a training accident in 2005. This accident has apparently led him to believe he served in Iraq and suffered injuries while trying to protect other soldiers from an RPG attack in Afghanistan in 2009.
Morris has said Poe is sorry “for everything’s that’s been going on. He is apologizing for the families of the soldiers who have lost their lives. He was apologizing to the soldiers that are upset with him. You know, he doesn’t understand everything that’s been going on.”
“Do I think he’s absolutely crazy? No, I don’t. Do I think he’s crazy? No. I just think he needs a little help,” added Morris.
Fox News report including Poe apologizing for his claims:
In a recent interview with WFAA-TV, Poe, exasperated, cried and told reports that he doesn’t understand why he “believed things that happened to me, and they might not have?” Poe claimed he believes he is telling the truth about his injuries, but ultimately isn’t sure what is real.
As of now, Poe remains a contestant on America’s Got Talent.
Timothy Michael Poe Radio Interview:
Additional articles and posts on this story:
- ‘America’s Got Talent’: Timothy Michael Poe’s Afghanistan Combat Injury In Question (HuffPostTV)
- Vet’s explosive ‘America’s Got Talent’ tale didn’t happen: military (NYDailyNews)
- Fiancee: Vet Gave Show Errant Photo by ‘Mistake’ (Military.com)
- Talent show contestant says he believed he was injured in war (UTICAOD.com)
- ‘America’s Got Talent’ — Timothy Michael Poe Tries To Save His Sinking Ship Of Lies (StarPulse)
- ‘America’s Got Talent’ singer believed he was injured in war (USAToday)