North West Florida News
September 3, 2016
A medical board issued him an honor-able discharge after four years and 10 months of service. The loss of his military career devastated him, Angela said, and he would later be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.At 9:18 a.m. on April 9, 2015, Aaron Wanless sent an email to his psychiatrist’s office at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinic at Eglin Air Force Base.
“He attempted suicide shortly after that,” she said. “It broke his heart to be out of the Air Force.”
“This medication is killing me,” he wrote. “My brain is malfunctioning.”
At the moment he sent the message, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran was a fugitive, having spent the previous night eluding sheriff’s deputies following an armed altercation at his father’s house.
Shortly after sending the email, Aaron surrendered and was taken to jail, where he has remained for 17 months without bond as his case winds it way through the judicial system.
Aaron had confided in Angela when they first met that he’d experienced depression. She and Melendez attribute it to a serious motorcycle accident he had while stationed at Patrick Air Force Base near Cocoa Beach in 2001.
“Several bones in his lower leg were shattered,” Melendez wrote. “For a while, doctors thought they may have to amputate his leg. Aaron was in rehab for months.”
Although he would go on to serve with his Air Force unit at ground zero in New York following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, by 2002 the military decided he was no longer fit for service.
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