The JASDF 501st Squadron was formed at Matsushima on December 1, 1961 equipped with RF-86Fs. In 1975 the 501st Tactical Reconnaissance Group moved to Hyakuri with their new RF-4Es. In 1992 seven RF-4EJs and eight RF-4EJ Kai had been converted and updated from the normal F-4E. The early 1980s saw the introduction of the F-15 so F-4EJs were heavily modified and could carry 3 types of external sensor pods of which one was the LOROP (Long Range Oblique Photography) pod with KS-146B camera.
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.