Sgt. Tim Poe served his country, but there's still a question as to whether he was truly injured in the line of duty as he asserts.
After allegations surfaced that he may have lied on America's Got Talent about being hit by a grenade during his deployment to Afghanistan, the aspiring country crooner is sticking to his story.
Responding to Minnesota Army National Guard claims that his records fail to show the back and brain injuries he claimed to have sustained in combat and which he told judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel about in an emotional moment on Monday night's episode, Poe told the You Served podcast that the army hadn't updated his file with his medevac paperwork that noted his traumatic brain injury.
"I called one of the colonels and left a message and said, 'Look I have this paperwork and I want to send this to you because I don't think you have it,'" said the veteran. "They made a statement without having the facts."
Poe defended his claim that he sustained a back and brain injury from the explosion, the latter of which caused a severe inner ear problem, memory lapses as well as a speech impediment that he told the AGT panel he was working to overcome with a therapist.
Stuttering through most of the interview, he said: "I was sent out of Afghanistan for an ear infection…I had a blast go off by my head and it caused me to…forget things and I would not…I couldn't walk straight and I'd close my eyes and fall over and things like that."
The cowboy-hatted singer—who had no trouble playing guitar while covering Garth Brooks' "If Tomorrow Never Comes" on the hit NBC talent contest—explained that while recuperating in Germany, he had tried to get back to Afghanistan.
"I don't think that the guys in my unit were told by the sergeant…what really happened and why I had really gone and left," he said, about his abrupt airlift out of the war zone.
When asked if he embellished his story before the judges, Poe demurred.
"Just like you're telling your kid you were this really cool person at one time, it was a show…it wasn't out there to make anyone feel bad or make the soldiers going through things feel bad. It was just to show them it doesn't matter what happens in life, you can overcome it," the soldier explained.
(Listen to the full interview below.)
Replying to his interlocutor's question as to why a colonel with the Minnesota National Guard issued a statement about the nonexistence of his record of injury, Poe stressed that he had the paperwork to prove his claims and was willing to release it to the public.
"My retirement orders say disability resulted from a combat-related injury," he exclaimed.
As for whether he had received a Purple Heart or Bronze Star for his wounds, Poe admitted he did not, but noted he never claimed to have one on America's Got Talent.
When asked finally if anyone could corroborate his tale, Poe said he couldn't remember anybody because he was brand new to his unit, but "wished that they would come out."
"Until you see the documents, don't judge me," he said.
Defenders of Freedom founder Donna Cranston tells E! News, "Defenders of Freedom met Tim back in May of 2011 when he came from Brooke Army Medical Center to participate in our golf outing. At the time Tim was just being processed out of the military. Tim served honorably while he was in. However, he was injured in training, not in combat. We gave him some support financially while he was
transitioning out of the military.
"None of the false representation of his injuries came out until later. Defenders of Freedom is saddened by his false claims of service and sacrifice and have disassociated ourselves with him."
It's worth noting however when Howie asked him on the show whether Poe had ever sung before, the army vet answered, "I didn't know I could sing until my speech pathologist said it would help my stutter. She said to sing in the shower, so that's what I did."
E! News, however, has since learned that Poe was the lead singer in a band called Crawl Space while living in Minnesota.
If there's one thing Poe's definitely telling the truth about, it's scoring a rare hole-in-one on a par four while golfing at Woodlake Golf Club in San Antonio last September.
"He was with a foursome, and a man I teach was behind them on the seventh hole, and he witnessed it too, so I don't have a doubt he made the one," John Clay, general manager and course pro, tells E! News.
Now that's talent.
—Additional Reporting by Marcus Mulick & Sharareh Drury
(E! and NBC are part of the NBCUniversal family.)