Kirtland Powerlifter State Record Holder: Defending her Title while Defending her Nation Published Dec. 19, 2023 By Senior Airman Ruben Garibay 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- With an unwavering voice, the Air Force vocalizes its foundational motto- Fly, Fight, and Win! With an emphasis on the win, Airmen from all around the world who are currently serving or have served prior, have all heard this phrase. Fly, Fight, and Win not only guides the Air Force mission, but also serves as a guide for Airmen who actively utilize this motto within their personal lives, whether they are aware of it or not. Senior Airman Bianca Mendoza, 377th Security Forces Group defender and a Colorado native, is an Airman who exercises the Fly, Fight and Win motto within her life. Mendoza was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she was an athlete for most of her life. She shared how despite being involved in sports growing up, Mendoza felt she was little on the bigger side when it came to her weight. With her goal set to become a United States Airman, she knew she had to lose weight prior to joining the Air Force because of the military’s height to weight ratio standards. Overcoming the first obstacle of her career, Mendoza never strayed away from the path of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Serving in the military, Mendoza found a bigger reason to remain fit-to-fight. She discovered a community within the Air Force that would allow her to maintain her physical fitness and accomplish things she never thought possible. “I started my powerlifting journey here, at Kirtland,” Mendoza shares. “My flight chief, Master Sgt. Spears, was big into powerlifting. So, I took the initiative in expressing my desire to get into the sport. One thing led to another, and he became my coach for the next year and a half.” Mendoza currently holds the New Mexico’s Junior Women 56 kilogram powerlifting record in the 20-23 age bracket and is aiming to become a professional powerlifter. Standing at an empowering 4 feet 10 inches tall, and weighing in at 120 pounds, Mendoza is dedicated to placing in the Top Five at a national level where she will compete against others in the United States. “I am training hard for my upcoming national powerlifting competition,” Mendoza expresses. “After that, the United States Powerlifting Association Military Competition is something I am looking to represent the Air Force well in.” FLY. FIGHT. WIN. To fly with Mendoza’s wings is to train religiously in her on and off season. “I spend over an hour and a half in the gym, five days a week when I am in season,” says Mendoza. “Even when work has me working late, I am grateful for the Westside gym on base that’s open 24/7 because I can always make time to get my workout in.” Sacrifices are a norm to Mendoza. Blood, sweat, and tears are aspects ingrained into her and only make her stronger. Her fight is showcased when she steps onto the platform to compete against others who are after the same title. Butterflies in her stomach, all eyes on this small but strong young lady, gripping the bar with intensity and lifting over double her body weight, Mendoza makes a lasting statement to all who are watching, that she is there to compete. “It’s dumbfounding realizing I am lifting over two- three times my body weight at my meets,” Mendoza reflects. To win, is for her to take home another title. “I’m amongst the ranks of the world’s greatest powerlifters,” declares Mendoza. “Aside from being ranked globally and nationally, winning pushes me to continue pursuing better things, not only in lifting, but other things in my life as well.” Months of training has paid off for Mendoza as she reflects on the good and bad in her powerlifting journey. She shared how she does not let good days or bad days define her or affect her mentality. “My motivation stems from my desire to represent my family and the Air Force proudly,” Mendoza remarks. “My siblings look at the life I live, both professionally and personally, so I have to show them what they can achieve.” In Mendoza’s workplace, she prominently displays a quote that she looks at every day. “You don’t have problems; you have work to do.” This quote along with the guiding beliefs of Fly, Fight, and Win give Mendoza the perspective to see her challenges not as problems, but as opportunities to work through.