The QueQue: Timothy Poe's act of exaggerated valor, GEO sued over death in custody, A&M-SA did investigate Bradford's claims
Published: June 13, 2012
Timothy Poe's act of exaggerated valor
Every so often, the internet gives us the opportunity to watch lies implode in real time. That may apply to last week's case of San Antonio singer and war vet Timothy Poe. A heart-warming "America's Got Talent" sensation Monday, the blogosphere the next day had begun picking away at holes in Poe's on-air accounts of his military service and wartime injuries. An eventual media frenzy sparked Poe's tearful apology to local talk radio host Joe Pags, in which he said, "I never intended to hurt anyone. I just wanted to put out there that, look, there's life after accidents."
Still, it's not exactly clear what inconsistencies, outright fabrications, or exaggerations Poe acknowledged or denied in his sort-of apology for "incomplete facts" during the brief, emotional radio spot. Poe's fiancée told the Express-News she still believes major pieces of his story, particularly his grenade injury, and that, "I just think he needs a little help."
Poe's talent-show debut was an emotional hit. He told the cameras and celebrity hosts of his 14-year military career, which ended, he claimed, in 2009 when he was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while serving in Afghanistan. On stage, he said the blast broke his back and injured his brain, leaving him with a notable stutter. The stutter disappeared when Poe crooned, and the crowd went wild — celebrity host Howie Mandel told Poe, "Everything about you is amazing."
Almost immediately after his national televised showing, a host of angry voices claiming to have served with Poe began to swarm the internet, calling his story an outright lie. The conservative blog Ain't This Hell first picked up on the inconsistencies and helped fan the story. Ultimately reps of the Minnesota National Guard, with which Poe served and deployed to Afghanistan, chimed in to say, "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." So far no other troops have come forward to verify the incident, and no records have been given to show where and when that supposed firefight occurred.
Poe, just a week before, had done an interview for a Dallas-area WFAA piece on the Defenders of Freedom, a Texas group aiding returning vets in readjusting and finding work. Poe told the station that while serving in Iraq he "took a bullet in the leg" during a firefight. But by Thursday, the Minnesota National Guard put out a statement after reviewing all of Poe's records, saying they couldn't vouch for any of his claims. Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a Guard spokesman, said statements in Poe's retirement order were inconsistent with documents that indicate he was actually injured while training in Indiana in 2005.