Nicknamed “Old Shaky” from how it noisily rattled, the C-124 Cargo was built to transport practically anything–including nuclear weapons. Hydraulic ramps, in the nose and elevator under the aft fuselage, allowed this 77 foot-long, 4-engine aircraft to transport military weaponry and supplies as well as people—from 200 soldiers to 127 patients. It was in fact the only one with that much capacity after replacing the aging C-74s after WWII.
It was also the first long-range aircraft that transported supplies through 2 wars and several historic events, such as Operation Deep Freeze in Antartica and the crisis in the Congo. Its active service ended in 1974, with only one major disaster. The tragedy at Tachikawa on June 18th, 1953 was the deadliest at the time. Engine failure after takeoff at the Tachikawa base in Japan killed 129 soldiers from the 374th Troop, on their way back to serve in Korea from a short vacation. The tragic event prompted a serious revision of its safety and design.
Only 8 exist now, but the “Old Shaky” is still remembered as an excellent logistical aircraft.