The squadron adopted its current insignia in 1953, a winged black lion (or a mythical Griffin) on a blue shield. The distinctive squadron name "Pukin' Dogs" came about when the squadron commander's wife saw the creature�??s droopy head and gaping mouth design. She stated, in front of the squadron pilots, that it looked like a pukin' dog. The pilots loved that, and the name stuck. In the politically correct aftermath of the Tailhook scandal in 1991, the squadron was forced to officially rename itself the "Dogs". This official banishment was widely ignored until Admiral John Mazach,Commander, Naval Air Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet, rescinded the policy in a 1996 speech to the squadron.
Two Navy squadrons have held the designation VF-143. The first was established on 20 July 1950 as VF-821, and redesignated VF-143 on 4 February 1953. This squadron was disestablished on 1 April 1958. The second VF-143 was established in 1950, was eventually redesignated VFA-143
On 20 June 1962, the unit was redesignated VF-143 and began its transition to the F-4 Phantom. They deployed seven times during the Vietnam War. The squadron was credited with the downing of a MiG-21 in 1967.
The last VF-143 Vietnam deployment commenced in September 1972 with Carrier Air Group (CAG) 14 aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65). On the last day of official American hostilities, a squadron Phantom was struck by AAA fire near Quang Tri while performing one of the last combat missions of the war. Executive Officer, Cmdr Harley Hall and his RIO ejected near the coast and both were seen alive on the ground by their wingman. Hall's RIO was captured by North Vietnamese and returned from captivity a few months later. Cmdr Hall became the last Naval Aviator listed as Missing in Action (MIA). Two weeks after the shoot down, however, his status was changed from MIA to "Prisoner of War (POW), authenticated", a designation held until he was declared deceased in February 1980.
VF-143 and VF-142 F-4Js on USSConstellation, 1969/70.
The squadron returned to NAS Miramar in June 1973, and three months later made a final Phantom deployment to the Mediterranean. In 1974 VF-143 transitioned to the F-14 Tomcat and then changed homeport to NAS Oceana in 1976. VF-143, along with sister squadron VF-142, were aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) for her maiden voyage in 1979.
In 1980 VF-143 deployed to the Indian Ocean in response to the Iran-Iraq war, setting a Navy underway record of 153 days. VF-143 soon gained Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) capability, and provided the first time imagery of the new Soviet aircraft carrier Novorossiysk and the new SovietSlava class cruiser. On August 5, 1983, VF-143 intercepted five Libyan MiG-23s some 220 kilometers south of Eisenhower in the Mediterranean Sea. No weapons were fired during these encounters but the situation was "very tense". The Pukin�?? Dogs became the first to fly combat TARPS missions when they flew 45 combat reconnaissance sorties over Lebanon in the autumn of 1983.
On the morning of May 27, 2011 a diamond formation of four F-18E Super Hornets from the squadron overflew the Graduation of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2011 then underway at the Academy's Navy - Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The announcer identified the aircraft as being from VFA-143, 'The World Famous Pukin' Dogs' based at Oceana Naval Air Station. VF-143 flew in lieu the Blue Angels, who were originally scheduled for the overflight, but they were undergoing a safety stand-down due to a lower-than-normal maneuver performed at the Lynchburg Regional Airshow at Lynchburg, VA on Sunday, May 22.