The Team Ring
|The Team Ring|
The gold and black "Team Ring" that Magnum, T.C. and Rick wear is a Vietnam War memento that symbolizes the tight bond of wartime camaraderie that they all shared together. The ring is not an official military decoration or emblem, and is not used in any capacity in the U.S. Navy SEALs or U.S. Marine Corps.
The dominant motif of the ring is a "double cross", the Cross of Lorraine
. The Cross of Lorraine is primarily identified as a French resistance symbol, but it's also used for many other purposes. The cross was originally used by the Knights Templar
in the Middle Ages, and later by Joan of Arc
in the fifteenth century. The double cross insignia was later used by the U.S. Army 79th Infantry Division
in WWI and WWII, as well as the Free French Forces
(in WWII). The Cross was also memorably seen on a ring (Mr. Berger) in the classic 1942 movie Casablanca
, a movie that is referenced several times on Magnum P.I.
The ring was worn by all members of Magnum's "Vietnam Team", a multi-service joint task force (MACV-SOG
) unit, comprised of Magnum (U.S. Navy SEAL, Special Ops), T.C. (U.S. Marine Huey
Pilot with the VMO-2
unit, based out of Da Nang), Rick (U.S. Marine Door Gunner with the VMO-2
unit, based out of Da Nang), Dan Cook (U.S. Navy SEAL, Special Ops), and Phillipe "La Bulle" Trusseau and Pepe (two French Paratroopers). Additionally, Magnum's wife Michelle (who was in Vietnam during the war) has a Cross of Lorraine pendant* which she wears on a necklace. She was involved in unspecified clandestine espionage operations for the anti-Communist forces.
|Cross of Lorriane|
The ring's backstory is never really discussed in the show. There is a flashback scene in the beginning of "Memories Are Forever (1)
" (2.5) which shows Rick and T.C. on a Saigon street corner briefly looking at a tattoo flash of the Cross of Lorraine. Rick and T.C. already have their rings at this point and Michelle soon appears wearing her Cross of Lorraine pendant. We see the rings in other Vietnam flashbacks also, so we know they were made for the team at some point during that time. We don't know why they chose the "double cross" symbol, but it is a logical choice for several reasons - (1) It's a military resistance symbol, (2) Two members of VM02 were French, Michelle was French, (3) T.C. is from New Orleans, a city with a rich French history, (4) A similiar ring was used in Rick's favorite movie Casablanca
The "Team Ring", and it's use within Magnum P.I.
, was created by series co-creator/executive producer Donald P. Bellisario
, a former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant. Don "worked in" the Cross of Lorraine motif in another one of his hit TV shows, Quantum Leap
(1989-1993). In the first episode of Season Two ("Honeymoon Express"), a French Resistance fighter uses a ligther that features a silver Croix de Lorraine that is affixed to the front.
|Manetti w/ Ring|
One of the rings used in the show is on display at the National Museum of American History
in Washington, D.C., along with Magnum's Detroit Tigers baseball cap and iconic red "Jungle Bird" hawaiian shirt!
An excellent replica of the ring can be found here
. A wonderful sterling silver model can be found here
(by J.R. Design
). The U.S. Army 79th Infantry Division insignia patch can be ordered here
In an interesting bit of trivia, in the 2007 Las Vegas
episode "When Life Gives You Lemon Bars
" (a mini "Magnum P.I. Reunion" episode that guest starred both Larry Manetti and Roger E. Mosley), Larry Manetti's character can be seen wearing the "Team Ring" on his right hand! You have to look closely to see it.
* In addition to the ring and pendant, the Cross of Lorraine symbol was also used on one of T.C.'s baseball caps and on Magnum's surfski.
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