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Strike Fighter Squadron 143 (VFA-143), also known as the "Pukin Dogs", are a United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana
Naval Air Station Oceana
Naval Air Station Oceana or NAS Oceana is a military airport located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is a United States Navy Master Jet Base. It is also known as Apollo Soucek Field, named after Lieutenant Apollo Soucek, a Navy Test Pilot who set the global altitude record in 1930 by flying a...

, Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. The Pukin Dogs are an operational fleet squadron and flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet. They are currently attached to Carrier Air Wing Seven
Carrier Air Wing Seven
Carrier Air Wing Seven , is a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The air wing is attached to the aircraft carrier .-Mission:...

 and have recently returned from their deployment aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is an aircraft carrier currently in service with the United States Navy. Commissioned in 1977, the ship is the second of the ten Nimitz-class supercarriers currently in service, and is the first ship named after the thirty-fourth President of the United States, Dwight D....


Insignia and nickname

The squadron adopted its current insignia in 1953, a winged black lion (or a mythical Griffin
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle...

) on a blue shield. The distinctive squadron name "Pukin' Dogs" came about because the creature’s droopy head and gaping mouth design looked to some observers like a dog vomiting.
In the politically correct aftermath of the Tailhook scandal
Tailhook scandal
The Tailhook scandal refers to a series of incidents where more than 100 U.S. Navy and United States Marine Corps aviation officers were alleged to have sexually assaulted at least 87 women, or otherwise engaged in "improper and indecent" conduct at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada...

 in 1991, the squadron was forced to officially rename itself the "Dogs". This official banishment was widely ignored until Admiral John Mazach
John Mazach
John J. Mazach is a vice admiral who retired from the United States Navy in 1998. His last assignment on active duty was commander of Naval Air Forces Atlantic. As a retiree, he became an advisor to the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at Vanderbilt University, of which he was a 1966 alumnus...

, Commander, Naval Air Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet
Commander, Naval Air Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet
Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet is the aviation Type Commander for the United States Atlantic Fleet naval aviation units...

, 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, and is the subject of this article.


VFA-143 began as VF-871, a reserve F4U-4 Corsair
F4U Corsair
The Vought F4U Corsair was a carrier-capable fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War II and the Korean War. Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought's manufacturing capability, resulting in production by Goodyear and Brewster: Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated FG and...

 squadron based at NAS Alameda called to active duty on 20 July 1950. The squadron deployed twice during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, flying from the aircraft carriers USS Princeton (CV-37)
USS Princeton (CV-37)
USS Princeton was one of 24 s built during and shortly after World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was the fifth US Navy ship to bear the name, and was named for the Revolutionary War Battle of Princeton...

 and USS Essex (CV-9)
USS Essex (CV-9)
USS Essex was an aircraft carrier, the lead ship of the 24-ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in December 1942, Essex participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning the...

. On 4 February 1953, the squadron was redesignated VF-123 and transitioned to the F9F-2 Panther. In April 1958 they transitioned to the F3H Demon
F3H Demon
The McDonnell F3H Demon was a subsonic swept-wing United States Navy carrier-based jet fighter aircraft. After severe problems with Westinghouse J40 engine that was ultimately abandoned, the successor to the McDonnell F2H Banshee served starting in 1956 redesigned with the J71 engine...

 and were redesignated VF-53.


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
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. 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)
USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
USS Enterprise , formerly CVA-65, is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth US naval vessel to bear the name. Like her predecessor of World War II fame, she is nicknamed the "Big E". At , she is the longest naval vessel in the world...

. 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
Missing in action
Missing in action is a casualty Category assigned under the Status of Missing to armed services personnel who are reported missing during active service. They may have been killed, wounded, become a prisoner of war, or deserted. If deceased, neither their remains nor grave can be positively...

 (MIA). Two weeks after the shoot down, however, his status was changed from MIA to "Prisoner of War
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 (POW), authenticated", a designation held until he was declared deceased in February 1980.
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
F-14 Tomcat
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experimental program following the collapse of the F-111B project...

 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)
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is an aircraft carrier currently in service with the United States Navy. Commissioned in 1977, the ship is the second of the ten Nimitz-class supercarriers currently in service, and is the first ship named after the thirty-fourth President of the United States, Dwight D....

 for her maiden voyage
Maiden voyage
The maiden voyage of a ship, aircraft or other craft is the first journey made by the craft after shakedown. A number of traditions and superstitions are associated with it....

 in 1979.


In 1980 VF-143 deployed to the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 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
Soviet aircraft carrier Novorossiysk
Novorossiysk was a conventionally powered heavy aircraft carrying cruiser or aircraft carrier that served the Soviet Navy, and later the Russian Navy, from 1982 to 1993. She was the third Kiev class vessel to be built...

 and the new Soviet Slava class cruiser
Slava class cruiser
The Slava class cruiser, Soviet designation Project 1164 Atlant, is a large conventionally-powered warship, currently operated by Russia.-Design:...

. On August 5, 1983, VF-143 intercepted five Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

n 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
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 in the autumn of 1983.


VF-143 was one of the first squadrons to deploy with the F-14A(+) (later renamed F-14B), in March 1990 aboard Eisenhower.
When Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 invaded Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 in August 1990, Eisenhower and her battle group rushed to the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 to deter the Iraqis from further advancement into Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. In late August, USS Saratoga (CV-60)
USS Saratoga (CV-60)
USS Saratoga , was one of four Forrestal- class supercarriers built for the US Navy in the 1950s. Saratoga was the sixth US Navy ship, and the second aircraft carrier, to be named for the Battle of Saratoga in the American Revolutionary War.Commissioned in 1956, she spent most of her career in...

 relieved Ike.

In early 1991, VF-143 was awarded COMNAVAIRLANT’s 1990 Battle Efficiency Award as the Atlantic Fleet’s finest fighter squadron. In addition, VF-143 was awarded the Chief of Naval Operations
Chief of Naval Operations
The Chief of Naval Operations is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral in the United States Navy, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Navy. The office is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy...

 Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

 Joseph C. Clifton
Joseph C. Clifton
Joseph C. Clifton was a Naval Officer and Aviator of the United States Navy in World War II, ultimately advancing to the rank of Rear Admiral before his retirement in 1963.-Biography:...

 Award. In May 1991 during the Air Wing’s detachment to NAS Fallon, VF-143 dropped air-to-ground ordnance for the first time. In September, the squadron deployed to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

, and participated NATO exercises in the Norwegian Sea
Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...


In August 1992, the Pukin’ Dogs and the rest of CVW-7 switched aircraft carriers to the USS George Washington (CVN-73)
USS George Washington (CVN-73)
USS George Washington is an American nuclear-powered supercarrier, the sixth ship in the Nimitz class and the fourth United States Navy ship to be named after George Washington, the first President of the United States...

, the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier. VF-143 deployed for Washington’s maiden cruise and then again for the carrier’s first Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 deployment in May 1994 where she took part in the 50th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

 invasion and Operation Deny Flight
Operation Deny Flight
Operation Deny Flight was a North Atlantic Treaty Organization operation that began on April 12, 1993 as the enforcement of a United Nations no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina...

. The VF-143 was awarded the 1994 Battle E, Safety S, Joseph C. Clifton and Golden Wrench awards.

In December 1994, the VF-143 completed departed on their second deployment in fifteen months, operating in support of Operation Decisive Endeavour and Operation Southern Watch
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Southern Watch was an operation conducted by Joint Task Force Southwest Asia with the mission of monitoring and controlling airspace south of the 32nd Parallel in Iraq, following the 1991 Gulf War until the 2003 invasion of Iraq.-Summary:Operation Southern Watch began on 27 August 1992...

. The squadron provided TARPS, Forward Air Controller, air superiority and air-to-ground missions. VF-143 returned to Oceana in July 1996.

In early 1997, VF-143 transitioned to the Navy's newest carrier, the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74)
USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74)
USS John C. Stennis is the seventh Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the United States Navy, named for Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi. She was commissioned on 9 December 1995...

, deploying in 1998. The maiden deployment took them to the Persian Gulf, spending 131 days there in support of Operation Southern Watch. VF-143 played key roles using LANTIRN
Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, is a combined navigation and targeting pod system for use on the USAF's premier fighter aircraft — the F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon...

, night vision goggles
Night vision goggles
A night vision device is an optical instrument that allows images to be produced in levels of light approaching total darkness. They are most often used by the military and law enforcement agencies, but are available to civilian users...

 and digital TARPS. VF-143 was recognized by COMNAVAIRLANT with the 1998 Battle “E” Safety "S" awards.


VF-143 deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Phase II. The last deployment with the F-14 was in 2004 aboard George Washington in support of Iraqi Freedom, during which time the squadron participated in strikes over Fallujah
Fallujah is a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, located roughly west of Baghdad on the Euphrates. Fallujah dates from Babylonian times and was host to important Jewish academies for many centuries....

 between April 28-April 29.

In 2005 VF-143 transitioned to the F/A-18E Super Hornet, and was designated Strike Fighter Squadron 143 (VFA-143).

The first deployment with the F/A-18E commenced in 2006 and ended in the spring of 2007. During the cruise aboard Eisenhower, VFA-143 supported Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and operations off the Somali
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...


On February 21, 2009 VFA-143 and CVW-7 embarked aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is an aircraft carrier currently in service with the United States Navy. Commissioned in 1977, the ship is the second of the ten Nimitz-class supercarriers currently in service, and is the first ship named after the thirty-fourth President of the United States, Dwight D....

 for a deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and maritime security operations in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. On March 21, 2009 it was reported that USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)
USS Theodore Roosevelt is the fourth Nimitz-class supercarrier. Her radio call sign is Rough Rider, the name of President Theodore Roosevelt's volunteer cavalry unit during the Spanish-American War...

 was relieved by "Ike". On 30 July 2009, the Eisenhower returned to Naval Station Norfolk after almost a six month deployment..


VFA-143 and the rest of CVW-7 embarked onboard the USS Eisenhower on January 2, 2010 for a six-month deployment in support of 5th and 6th Fleet operations.

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.

See also

  • Naval aviation
    Naval aviation
    Naval aviation is the application of manned military air power by navies, including ships that embark fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters. In contrast, maritime aviation is the operation of aircraft in a maritime role under the command of non-naval forces such as the former RAF Coastal Command or a...

  • Modern US Navy carrier air operations
    Modern US Navy carrier air operations
    Modern United States Navy aircraft carrier air operations include the operation of fixed wing and rotary aircraft on and around an aircraft carrier for performance of combat or non-combat missions. Modern United States Navy aircraft carrier flight operations are highly evolved, based on experiences...

  • List of military aircraft of the United States (naval) / List of US Naval aircraft
  • United States Naval Aviator
    United States Naval Aviator
    A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

  • United States Marine Corps Aviation
    United States Marine Corps Aviation
    United States Marine Corps Aviation is the air component of the United States Marine Corps. Marine aviation has a very different mission and operation than its ground counterpart, and thus, has many of its own histories, traditions, terms, and procedures....

  • Military aviation
    Military aviation
    Military aviation is the use of aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling warfare, including national airlift capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. Air power includes the national means of conducting such...

  • List of United States Navy aircraft squadrons
  • List of Inactive United States Navy aircraft squadrons