The 501st TRS was the JASDF’s only Recon Squadron. It was formed in December 1961 and uses the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker as it emblem. In 1972 the JASDF decided to replace their RF86F with 14 RF-4Es and formed a detachment at Hyakuri AB to handle the new aircraft. The first F-4Es were numbered 6901- 6914 and began arriving throughout 1974 and 1975. For operation over the water 6901, 6905 and 6913 were given a special Ocean Blue scheme while converted F-4EJ and F-4EL Kai were painted in green/gray Forest scheme.
The JASDF 501st Squadron was formed December 1, 1961 flying 10 RF-86F Sabre aircraft. Built by Mitsubishi in 1976 as an F-4EJ c/n M080 serial 67-8380 was later converted to an RF-4EJ and renumbered as 67-6380 assigned to the 501st Hikotai. On March 9, 2020 the last flight of the RF-4EJ took place as well as a retirement ceremony for this type of aircraft as well as the disbanding of the 501st. RF-4EJ 67-6380 wore what looks like a roll of 35mm film marking the fact that the unit operated from 1961 until 2020.