Military disputes TV contestant's claim of combat injuries
A contestant on "America's Got Talent" gained sympathy from the judges and applause from the audience when he described suffering a TBI in Afghanistan, but the military says it has no record of him being injured, The Associated Press reported.
In his appearance Monday on the NBC talent competition, Timothy Michael Poe told judge Howie Mandel he had served in the military for 14 years but "my career was cut short" by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan.
"By the time I turned and went to jump on my guys, I yelled 'grenade' and the blast had hit me," he says in his audition video, which was aired along with the judges' interview before Poe sang. He said his stutter was due to the brain injury he suffered in the blast, along with a broken back.
The studio audience responded to his declaration of military service with thunderous applause, and judges Mandel and Sharon Osbourne appeared shocked and sympathetic while he spoke.
However, the Minnesota National Guard told AP on Tuesday Poe had served in the Guard for nine years, working as a supply specialist, and was not injured in the month he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.
"We looked very closely at his record," spokesman Lt. Col. Kevin Olson told AP. "We did not find something to substantiate what he said."
An NBC spokesman told AP the network and Poe would have no comment.
"America's Got Talent" airs Tuesdays on AFN Family.
Source: The Associated Press