A singing contestant on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”, who claims he speaks with a stutter due to combat injuries he sustained while serving in Afghanistan has no military record of his alleged injuries, the Minnesota National Guard said Tuesday.
Timothy Michael Poe appeared on the show Monday at auditions in Austin, Texas where he told the AGT judges he spent 14 years in the military, and suffered a broken back and brain injury when he was hit by a grenade in Afghanistan in 2009.
Wearing a cowboy hat and carrying a guitar, Poe dedicated his performance of the Garth Brooks song “If Tomorrow Never Comes” to his wife who was watching from the wings. The judges voted to send Poe on to the next round in Las Vegas.
In a taped segment that also aired, Poe stated, “I had volunteered for a team to go out and clear buildings and help out with the wounded. There was a guy who come 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.”
Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, released a statement Tuesday saying, “Sgt. Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports,”
According official records, Poe served with the Minnesota Army National Guard from December 2002 through May 2011, working as a supply specialist. Records show he was deployed in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007 to July 15, 2008, and then served in Afghanistan for about a month in 2009.
Poe told the AGT judges he had been encouraged to sing in the shower by his speech therapist as a way to help with his vocal impediment. In the taped segment, Poe also recalled his feelings during his recovery, saying, “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.”
An NBC spokesperson said the network and Poe had not comment.