In 1982, the Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John O. Marsh, created the concept for the United States Army Soldier Physical Fitness School (USAPFS). The mission of this new organization was to develop physical fitness doctrine and training for Soldiers with the primary emphasis on preparing them to meet the physical demands of war. This new organization, located at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN, had initial responsibilities for developing physical fitness doctrine, researching the fitness needs of the Army, standardizing those requirements and training the Army on these new programs and standards. The School was staffed with a combined total of 55 military and civilian employees.
In 1983, the School established the Master Fitness Trainer (MFT) course. The four-week, 137-hour course was designed to train non-commissioned officers to return to their units and train unit Physical Training (PT) leaders and assist the commander in the development of the unit's PT program. The MFT course trained leaders to assess individual and unit fitness status, analyze unit tasks and develop supporting programs, train other leaders how to conduct productive and challenging PT, and provide the PT leader an understanding of the human body, its various systems, and how it functioned during exercise.
From 1984 through 1989, the School conducted numerous studies and compiled detailed data on virtually all areas concerning physical fitness in the Army. These studies led to more strenuous training standards, the development of new PT exercises, and aided the development of numerous Army systems that directly affected a Soldier's physical performance.
In 1990, as a result of the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) approved Vanguard Initiative, the School was to be eliminated in fiscal year (FY) 92. After extensive review, Army senior leadership decided the School was a necessity for total Army readiness. In 1991, the decision was made to maintain a cell of fitness professionals to train and educate the Army in the area of physical fitness.
As a result of subsequent negotiation between United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and the Department of the Army, the School was functionally realigned and relocated to Fort Benning, GA, in June 1992. The School was placed under the United States Army Infantry Center with the mission of physical fitness, doctrine development, relevant research, standardization of fitness requirements in the Army, fitness policy development, and training assistance to the Army. With this relocation, the School staff was downsized from a staff of 33 to 15. In addition, the MFT course was discontinued, removed from Army Training Requirements and Resources System, and the Additional Skill Identifier was no longer awarded.
In 1995, the School revised and implemented Army Physical Fitness Test standards. In 2000, the School researched and developed the concept of Army Physical Readiness Training (APRT). A draft APRT manual, in support of Objective Force Soldier, was developed and focused on physically preparing Soldiers in alignment with the principles of Army training. This doctrinal paradigm shifted from training in preparation for the APFT, to training to enhance the physical performance of Soldier tasks. In 2002, a draft field manual was ready for staffing, but delayed and tabled as a "Futures Initiative" by Army Accessions Command (AAC).
In November of 2003, in accordance with TRADOC Transformation Memorandum #2, AAC formally assumed command and control of USAPFS and placed the School under AAC. The School maintained its total-Army mission but emphasis shifted to attrition reduction and injury control related to PT in the Initial Military Training (IMT) environment.
In November of 2007, USAPFS was relocated from Fort Benning, GA, to Fort Jackson, SC. USAPFS was placed under the command and control of the Directorate of Basic Combat Training (DBCT), United States Army Training Center of Excellence, Fort Jackson, SC, where it continued to function as the Army proponent for physical fitness. In August 2010, TC 3-22.20, Army Physical Readiness Training was place on the Reimer Digital Library and approved for Army-wide distribution. On 1 October 2010, the DBCT was renamed the Training Support and School Directorate (TSSD) and placed under the command and control of the Initial Military Training Center of Excellence (IMT CoE). In May 2013, as part of the University Concept under development by TRADOC, TSSD was directed to reorganize as Victory College effective 1 October 2013. In 2014, IMT CoE was redesignated as Center for Initial Military Training.
In early 2016, the USAPFS' higher headquarters, Victory College, was redesignated as the Leader Training Brigade (LTB).