The 143rd Infantry, Texas National Guard, was organized in 1880 as the Third Regiment of Infantry, Texas Volunteer Guard, from existing companies as follows (Local designation and date of organization follow original Third Regiment designation): Company A, Waco Grays, 1876; Company B, Belton Light Guards, 1880; Company C, Mills' Rifles, 1879; Company D, Coke Guards, 1879; Company E, Mills' Sharpshooters, 1879; Company F, Kosse Light Guard, 1880; Company G, Houston Light Guard, 1873.
During the Spanish-American War, five of the companies of the regiment were in Federal service, as follows:
OLD DESIGNATIONS—Company A, Company B, Company G, Company H, Company I.
FEDERAL DESIGNATIONS—Company B, Second Texas Infantry, U. S. V.; Company C, Second Texas Infantry, U. S. V.; Company A, Third Texas Infantry, U. S. V.; Company B, Fourth Texas Infantry, U. S. V.; Company I, First Texas Infantry, U. S. V.
Company I, First Texas Infantry, U. S. V. (Company I, Third Regiment, Texas National Guard) served in the Army of Occupation in Cuba, from December 25, 1898, to March 25, 1899.
After being mustered out of Federal service, the Third Infantry, Texas Volunteer Guard, reverted to its former status in the state service.
In 1903, the designation of the regiment was changed from the Third Regiment, Texas Volunteer Guard, to the Third Infantry, Texas National Guard. The Third Infantry, Texas National Guard, served on the Mexican Border during the disturbances of 1916-17.
The regiment was drafted into Federal service for the World War, August 5, 1917. In the organization of the 36th Division, the Third Infantry, Texas National Guard (less M. G. Company), went with the Fifth Infantry, Texas National Guard, to make up the 143rd Infantry. The 143rd Infantry served overseas and participated in the Meuse-Argonne operations. It was mustered out of Federal service in 1919. The 143rd Infantry, which served during the World War as a part of the 36th Division, is now reconstituted in the National Guard of Texas as the 143rd Infantry. Under the provisions of General Orders No. 16, War Department, as amended, the 143rd Infantry, Texas National Guard, is entitled to bear on its colors a streamer denoting service in the World War with the following inscription: “Meuse-Argonne.”
The shield is blue for infantry. The bend wavy represents the regiment's service on the Mexican Border, along the Rio Grande River, and the Aisne River in France, along which the regiment participated in operations during the World War. The oak tree symbolized the Meuse-Argonne operation, during which the regiment received its baptism of fire. The gold key, taken from the Army of Cuban Occupation medal, indicates service in the Spanish-American War.