LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

DALLAS -- Army Sgt. Timothy Poe, the singing and sobbing soldier from North Texas who made headlines for exaggerating his military service, will be back on national television this week.

And he is being criticized again, by members of the military who challenge his claims.

Last month, Sgt. Poe e-mailed a list of medals he had received to a North Texas non-profit agency, and on that list he stated he had received a Purple Heart.

He hasn't.

I've got the true Purple Heart, said Tim Seckel, lifting up the sleeve of his shirt to reveal a tattoo of a Purple Heart medal. The tattoo is as vivid as his memories.

Seckel served in the U.S. Army for about five years, reaching the rank of corporal. He joined in 2005, and re-enlisted one week before a horrifying accident.

I mean, we were in a firefight for an hour, he said.

Seckel was driving an armored vehicle through Baghdad on August 17, 2007 when Iraqi insurgents attacked. He was critically injured, as were his sergeant and his captain.

Seckel's lieutenant was killed.

The Purple Heart is a reminder, he said of the sacrifice of his brothers and sisters.

Sgt. Tim Poe appeared on the NBC reality show America's Got Talent in early June, and told the judges he was injured in a grenade attack in Afghanistan. But soldiers who fought with him said that wasn't true.

The military also disputed Poe's claims.

In an interview in early June, Sgt. Poe apologized for saying things that weren't true, but he said he totally thought they were. He also said he had never told anyone he received a Purple Heart.

I put it on paper or something like that, he admitted. I truly thought I was going to receive something like that.

Poe did e-mail a list of medals he claimed to have received to Defenders of Freedom, an agency which assists wounded veterans. That list shows Poe claimed to have a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Poe apologized to the non-profit's founder, and said he was truly confused about reality. He blames his confusion on injuries, but the military disputes how he received those injuries.

Poe's medical records do show he was treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury received while in Afghanistan, but the Minnesota National Guard says those records are wrong.

Poe did not serve in Iraq, and the Guard said he was deployed to Afghanistan, but he was not injured there.

As a vet, I'm not going to stand for that, Seckel said. Defenders of Freedom one of the best organizations I've ever been involved in. This man hurt Defenders of Freedom by lying... that's like lying to my brother or sister.

He knows right and wrong, Seckel added. A person with PTSD or TBI is injured, but they still have a concept of right and wrong.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.khou.com/story/news/2014/07/20/11748950/