KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - "Powerlifting is part of my life," said Sgt. Curtis Sua, an infantryman with 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "Every day I have a goal I want to (accomplish) during my workouts and every day I feel accomplished when I hit (that) goal regardless of what happens throughout the day."

The passion this Las Vegas native has for powerlifting and fitness recently earned him the right to call himself a member of the 1,000-pound club at the NATO physical fitness center here.

The 1,000-pound club is a challenge with three powerlifting events: squat, bench and deadlift. To be a member of the club, one must be able to lift a total of 1,000 pounds with the combined weight lifted in each event.

Sua joined the club by squatting 390 pounds, benching 280 pounds and deadlifting 445 pounds, lifting a total weight of 1,115 pounds.

"During my last deployment I remember seeing this big board with all the members of the 1,000- pound club and I would always look up to my squad leaders that had their names on the board," said Sua. "I wasn't strong enough at that time (to do the challenge) so it become a goal I wanted to (achieve)."

With that goal in mind, Sua said he changed his focus in physical fitness to powerlifting and now, three years later he achieved his goal.

"I believe (joining the club) has brought me a step closer to competing for an official powerlifting federation, which is my next goal," said Sua.

Sua said before finding powerlifting he was a shy, reserved and introverted and used fitness not only to keep his mind off stressful situations but to improve his self-confidence.

"I used working out to get my mind off (any stressful situation) but one of my main reasons (to workout) was to raise my self-confidence," he explained. "Getting into fitness helped me transform myself and that confidence transferred into my work life."
The confidence Sua gained over years of staying in top physical shape, earned him a personal security detail position for the brigade and Train, Advise and Assist Command-South.

"PSD is the personal security detail for the commanding general," said Staff Sgt. Ethan Curran, platoon sergeant for the personal security detail for TAAC-South. "Our job is to protect (the command team), we are essentially bodyguards."

Sua was selected for the team from among peers throughout the brigade.

"Sgt. Sua (stood out) because of his high level of physical fitness and willingness to work," said Curran, a native of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. "He has a big work ethic and a strong commitment to the mission."

Curran has been Sua's supervisor since they both arrived in country and said Sua helps him and the Soldiers on the team with their physical fitness.

"I rely on (Sua) when it comes to physical fitness," said Curran. "He helps shape workouts for the platoon and educates (us) on fitness and nutrition. He is engaged with his Soldiers and makes sure they aren't just (cooped up) in the barracks, especially since they are away from their Families."

Sua said he enjoys the PSD team and helping his platoon and other Soldiers with fitness and nutrition. He plans to compete in the United States Powerlifting Association Colorado State Open Championships.