The Shamrocks upgraded to the F-4J Phantom II in 1969, when the squadron was redesignated VMFA-333. The squadron deployed on board the USS America (CVA-66) to the Mediterranean in 1971 and to the Tonkin Gulf in 1972. During air strikes in North Vietnam, one Shamrock crew, Major Lee Lasseter and Captain John Cummings, shot down an enemy MiG-21 on 11 September 1972. The Shamrocks lost three F-4Js but no crewmen to enemy action.
After a series of routine peacetime deployments, VMFA-333 upgraded to the F/A-18A Hornet in 1987. The Shamrocks took their Hornets to the Arabian peninsula in August 1990 for Operation Desert Shield and flew 70 combat missions against Iraqi forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, expending more than two million pounds of ordnance. VMFA-333 was deactivated on 31 March 1992.