John O. Arnn Elementary School is located in the Sagamihara Housing Area (SHA) near the main Camp Zama facility. SHA is one of the three housing areas that comprise the Camp Zama housing facilities with the other two areas being the Sagamihara Depot area and the main post Camp Zama. Arnn Elementary School functions as the educational hub for all elementary aged dependents for the military components assigned to Camp Zama.
Camp Zama is located on the Kanto Plain about 45 minutes from the center of Tokyo. The school first opened in 1950 as Sagamihara American Elementary School; the name was changed to John O. Arnn Elementary School during school year 1982-1983
The 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 1975. 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. In the fall 2003, the new John O. Arnn ES opened.
Major Arnn was first stationed in Japan in 1953 at Camp Chicamagua on the southern island of Kyushu. While there, the decorated veteran of both World War II and the Korean War became involved with the Garden of Light Orphanage. In 1960 he was stationed at Camp Zama and started a personal crusade to raise funds for the orphanage by hiking the 826 miles between Camp Zama and Beppu in less than two weeks. Although Major Arnn was killed in Vietnam on Christmas Eve, 1965, his outstanding service record and his selfless dedication to his belief that true happiness was to be found in helping others remains an inspiration to Arnn Elementary School students.
School motto: "Creating lifelong learners"
School mascot: The Knight
School colors: Blue and green