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Defenders push more than weight of duty

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Using all of his strength, Staff Sgt. Sean Yargus, a 30th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, completes a squat lift while Staff Sgt. Eduardo Rojas, a 30th SFS military working dog trainer, watches carefully from behind to make sure the lift went smoothly at the Fitness Center here June 4. Sergeants Rojas and Yargus were part of a three-member team from the 30th SFS that competed and scored high in the United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals Championship at Venice Beach, Calif., May 23. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Using all of his strength, Staff Sgt. Sean Yargus, a 30th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, completes a squat lift while Staff Sgt. Eduardo Rojas, a 30th SFS military working dog trainer, watches carefully from behind to make sure the lift went smoothly at the Fitness Center here June 4. Sergeants Rojas and Yargus were part of a three-member team from the 30th SFS that competed and scored high in the United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals Championship at Venice Beach, Calif., May 23. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – With 675 pounds pulling at the bar and his upper body, Sgt. Eduardo Rojas, a 30th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, finishes his set of deadlifts at the Fitness Center here June 4. Sergeant Rojas was part of a three-member team from the 30th Security Forces Squadron that had competed and scored high in the United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals Championship at Venice Beach, Calif., May 23. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – With 675 pounds pulling at the bar and his upper body, Sgt. Eduardo Rojas, a 30th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, finishes his set of deadlifts at the Fitness Center here June 4. Sergeant Rojas was part of a three-member team from the 30th Security Forces Squadron that had competed and scored high in the United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals Championship at Venice Beach, Calif., May 23. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Helping his fellow Airman tighten an athletic weightlifting wrap, Staff Sgt. Eduardo Rojas, a 30th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, preps Staff Sgt. Sean Yargus, a 30th SFS patrolman, before a set of squats at the Fitness Center here June 4. Sergeants Rojas and Yargus were part of a three-member team from the 30th SFS that competed and scored high in the United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals Championship at Venice Beach, Calif., May 23. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Helping his fellow Airman tighten an athletic weightlifting wrap, Staff Sgt. Eduardo Rojas, a 30th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, preps Staff Sgt. Sean Yargus, a 30th SFS patrolman, before a set of squats at the Fitness Center here June 4. Sergeants Rojas and Yargus were part of a three-member team from the 30th SFS that competed and scored high in the United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals Championship at Venice Beach, Calif., May 23. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Three members of the 30th Security Forces Squadron here competed in the United States Powerlifting Federation Military Nationals Championship at Venice Beach, Calif., May 23.

Tech. Sgt. Rudy Garcia, the 30th SFS NCO in charge of armory, Staff Sgt. Eduardo Rojas, a 30th SFS military working dog trainer, and Staff Sgt. Sean Yargus, a 30th SFS patrolman, competed against 38 powerlifters who represented the Army, Navy, Marines and Cost Guard.

The competition was open to all active duty servicemembers and retirees of the five branches of the U.S. military. During the competition, the powerlifters battled to out-lift their adversaries in the bench press, squat and deadlift events.

Vandenberg's defenders placed high in the events. Sergeant Garcia came in first place in the Bench Press Competition in the men's 166-181-pound open division. Sergeant Garcia lifted 385 pounds, which was more than two times his body weight.

Sergeant Rojas took second place in a Push and Pull Competition in the men's 199-220-pound open division. Sergeant Rojas finished the competition bench pressing 396 pounds and deadlifting 573 pounds, but he was confident he could have done better.

"During the competition, you are only allowed three lifts to reach your max performance," said Sergeant Rojas. "It generally takes me a little longer than the other guys to get warmed up. When I finished my last deadlift, I felt like I could have lifted a lot more weight."

Another well-rounded lifter and Team V member placed high in the competition. Sergeant Yargus placed fourth in the Full Power Competition in the men's 182-192-pound open division. Incredibly, Sergeant Yargus squatted 501 pounds, benched 314 pounds and deadlifted 485 pounds, totaling 1,300 pounds during the competition.

It was no coincidence that these Vandenberg defenders had high marks in the powerlifting competition. On a regular basis these security forces members get together and go to the gym to workout, sometimes six days a week.

"I view powerlifting as a challenge and another means of reaching personal satisfaction," said Sergeant Yargus. "For me, it's not all about coming in first place in the competition because, if I had finished last, I still would have felt like I won because I had reached a personal best."

There is a strong bond that exists between powerlifters, especially when the powerlifters are associated through a military connection.

"Even when competing against my opponents during the events, I noticed that it was my opponents who were behind me and cheering me on," Sergeant Yargus said.

To be successful in the sport of powerlifting takes focus, determination, persistence and strength. For the powerlifters of the 30th SFS, the sport is used as a supplement to their Air Force physical training.

"When you make working out part of your daily routine, it is hard to get out of shape," Sergeant Yargus said.