Camp Zama

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Camp Zama
Zama and Sagamihara, Japan
CampZamaSignalTower.jpg
Two U.S. airmen work atop a signal tower at Camp Zama in June 2002.
Type Military installation
Site information
Owner USA, with authority from Japan
Controlled by United States Department of the Army Seal.svg  United States Army
Site history
Built by Imperial Japanese Army
Garrison information
Garrison *United States Army Japan/9th Theater Army Area Command
*17th Area Support Group
*United Nations Command (Rear)
*500th Military Intelligence Brigade
*Japan Engineer District
*78th Signal Battalion
*3d Engineer Group of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
and others
Occupants United States Army, Japan - Shoulder sleeve insignia.svg  United States Army, Japan
Flag of JSDF.svg  Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Flag of the United Nations.svg  United Nations Command
Camp Zama Kastner Army Heliport
Zama/Kastner Heliport
IATA: noneICAO: RJTR
Summary
Airport type Military
Operator US Army
Location Camp Zama
Elevation AMSL 367 ft / 112 m
Coordinates 35°30′49″N 139°23′37″E / 35.51361°N 139.39361°E / 35.51361; 139.39361Coordinates: 35°30′49″N 139°23′37″E / 35.51361°N 139.39361°E / 35.51361; 139.39361
Website www.usarj.army.mil
Map
RJTR is located in Japan
RJTR
RJTR
Location in Japan
Helipads
Number Length Surface
m ft
02 457 × 16 1,499 × 52 Asphalt
20 457 × 16 1,499 × 52 Asphalt
Source: Japanese AIP at AIS Japan[1]

Camp Zama (キャンプ座間?) is a United States Army post located in the cities of Zama and Sagamihara, in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, about 40 km (25 mi) southwest of Tokyo.

Camp Zama is home to the U.S. Army Japan (USARJ)/I Corps (Forward),[2] the U.S. Army Japan Aviation Detachment "Ninjas" (Provisional), the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, the Japan Engineer District (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), the 78th Signal Battalion and the 3rd Engineer Group of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.

The Camp[edit]

Camp Zama is close to the Sagami River near the foothills of the Tanzawa Mountain Range, Kanagawa Prefecture. The installation falls in the Zama City limits while the two housing areas, Sagami Depot and Sagamihara Family Housing Area (SFHA), are located in the adjacent Sagamihara City. Once considered rural, this area has transformed into an urban area. New housing developments and communities along with shopping centers have increased the population and made traffic extremely congested. Traveling from Tokyo and outlying U.S. military installations to Camp Zama averages from 1.5 to 3 hours depending on the time of day. The best method to travel to Camp Zama is utilizing the extremely reliable local public transportation train system. The closest train station to Camp Zama is the Odakyū Line's Sōbudai-mae Station.

History[edit]

Camp Zama locates on the former site of Imperial Japanese Army Academy, which was named "Sōbudai" (Japanese: 相武台) by Emperor Showa. Route 51 is a road to Camp Zama that was specifically built in order for the Emperor of Japan to travel to review the graduating classes from Machida Station. The Emperor Showa visited Camp Zama in 1937. Camp Zama also houses an emergency shelter for the Emperor, and to this day, it has been maintained by the US Army Garrison Japan (17th ASG). The Camp Zama theater workshop is the only building remaining from the pre-occupation era. It is a large hall that was used for ceremonies by the Imperial Japanese Army.

The camp has been attacked several times by terrorists, for the first time when a bomb exploded outside the camp in 2002 by the "Revolutionary Army" with another one in 2007.[3]

In March 2007, the U.S. singer Michael Jackson visited the camp to greet 3,000 plus U.S. troops and their families. Jackson was flown in on a Black Hawk helicopter from Hardy Barracks in Tokyo and addressed the frenzied crowd at the Yano Fitness Center gymnasium located on the base:

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be here,” Jackson told the spectators. “You people are among the most special in the world because you haven chosen a life of service. Because of you here today and others who have given their lives, we can enjoy our freedom at home. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I love you."

Col. Robert M. Waltemeyer, Commander U.S. Army Garrison Japan, presented Jackson with a Certificate of Appreciation for his devotion to U.S. Military troops and their families.[4]

Personnel from the base assisted with Operation Tomodachi following and during the March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and Fukushima I nuclear accidents. During the crisis, around 300 American family members voluntarily departed the base for locations outside Japan.[5]

Education[edit]

The United States Department of Defense operates several public schools in the base.

  • Arnn Elementary School
  • Zama Middle School
  • Zama American High School

Higher educational opportunities for those in the military and working for the Department of Defense, as well as for family members at Camp Zama are available through several contracted academic institutions. For example: [1]

Arnn Elementary School[edit]

The [6] Sagamihara Elementary School opened in September 1951 with 300 students, ten teachers, and a principal. It started in a building purchased from the Japanese Government. This original building was destroyed by fire in 1976. Three temporary buildings were constructed in the summer of 1976 on the community play area across the street from the original school site. Later in 1978 three new buildings were completed on the original site and the campus was completed in 1983. These buildings served as the school until the new school replacement project was completed in May 2003. Fall 2003, the new John O. Arnn ES opened.

  • School motto: "Creating lifelong learners"
  • School mascot: The Knight
  • School colors: Blue and green

Zama American High School[edit]

The Zama American High School, also known as ZAHS, first opened in 1959. It was opened to, and continues to serve, American dependents of U.S. Military and civilian employees stationed in the area, as well as U.S. Contractors. It was built at the bottom of "General's Hill" on the north side of Camp Zama and remained there until 1968. In 1968, the school Principal, Mr. Richard A. Pemble, had the high school and Jr. High 'switched', and the high school then occupied two wooden army barracks close to the main gate. The barracks were the original Imperial Japanese Army buildings used to house Japanese imperial army officer candidates during World War II, and subsequently house U.S. troops during the occupation.

In 1980, a new high school was built on the hill near the original site, and the historical barracks were subsequently torn down. The high school still serves the American School community for the U.S. dependents in the Camp Zama / Sagamihara / Sagami Depot / Kamiseya / Atsugi areas.

In 1987, the school split into Zama American Middle School and Zama American High School.

ZAHS alumni enjoy an active alumni association and bi-yearly reunions that draw members from all over the globe. Zama American High School celebrated its 50th graduating class anniversary in June, 2009.

In June 2012, the school was placed on accreditation probation by accreditation agency AdvancED. AdvancED's report cited an "obstructive and negative climate perpetuated by an intimidating, manipulative minority of staff members at the school" as the main source of problems with the learning environment at the school. The school has until April 2013 to correct the problem, or it may be stripped of its accreditation.[7] In response, in August 2012 DoDEA transferred union representative Brian Chance, identified as one of those reportedly contributing to the conflicts between faculty and administrators at the school, to Germany. One teacher was fired. Six other teachers were also transferred or elected to retire in lieu of accepting a transfer.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ AIS Japan
  2. ^ Vince Little (19 June 2007). "I Corps setting up shop at Camp Zama". Stars and Stripes (newspaper). Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Hana Kusumoto and Vince Little (19 February 2007). "Group claims responsibility for Camp Zama explosions". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  4. ^ Halaby, Valerie. "Michael Jackson was long-time U.S. Military supporter". Clarity Digital Group LLC. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Reed, Charlie, "Military wraps up first round of departures from Japan", Stars and Stripes, 25 March 2011, retrieved 28 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Student/Parent Handbook for Arnn Elementary School". DoDEA - Arnn Elementary School. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Slavin, Erik, "Zama American at risk of losing school accreditation after scathing independent report", Stars and Stripes, 6 June 2012
  8. ^ Slavin, Erik, "With its accreditation status on probation, Zama eyes fresh start", Stars and Stripes, 26 August 2012

External links[edit]