Douglas C-124 Globemaster II


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Douglas C-124 Globemaster II

Despite having been the world's largest landplane transport when it flew in 1945, the Douglas C-74 Globemaster was actually too small-in volume-to accommodate the outsized loads dictated by the American military's postwar logistical needs. In response to this problem, the fifth C-74 was held back at the factory to undergo far- reaching modifications under the new designation YC-124. Using the wings, engine nacelles, and tail group of the C-74, Douglas evolved an entirely new fuselage by adding five feet ten inches to overall length, raising the height of the main cargo bay five feet, and lowering the depth of forward fuselage to permit loading of trucks, artillery pieces, aircraft sub- assemblies, or bulky equipment through a set of full- width clamshell doors in a new nose section that incorporated a built- in, hydraulically lowered ramp. The aft, belly loading hatch of the C-74 was retained, and to assist fore and aft movement of large loads, two overhead hoists, with 16,000 lbs. lifting capacity each, were installed in the main cargo bay. When rigged in a double deck configuration, the new fuselage design could also house 200 fully equipped troops or 127 evacuees in medical litters.

Dubbed "Globemaster II," the YC-124 completed its maiden flight on November 27, 1949, and deliveries of the first of 204 C-124A production models to the USAF commenced in May 1950. The prototype became the YC-124A when re- powered with 3,800-hp R-4360-35A engines, then reemerged in 1954 as the YC-124B after being modified to serve as a flying testbed for 5,500-shp Pratt & Whitney YT34 turboprop engines. A KC-124B tanker variant was considered as a potential KC-97 replacement but never materialized. The Long Beach plant shifted to production of 243 improved C-124Cs delivered between 1952 and 1955, which differed in having 3,800-hp R-4360-63A engines, an APS-42 weather radar in a nose- mounted thimble radome, and wingtip- mounted combustion heaters that provided thermal de-icing and cabin heating, and over a period of years, the existing C-124A fleet received retrofits that brought them up to the C standard. A pressurized variant was studied as the C-124X but never built, and during the mid-1950s, a much redesigned turboprop- powered, swept- wing derivative, designated XC-132, got as far as the mockup stage but was ultimately canceled in favor of the C-133.

C-124As began entering service during 1950 in time to play an important role in the Korean War (1950-1953). For the first time, MATS possessed a long- range aircraft capable of loading bulky items like tanks, guns, trucks, and construction equipment without major disassembly; and in Strategic Support Squadrons, new Globemasters gave SAC the ability to deliver large aircraft components to any of its widespread bases. As the USAF's C-124A and C fleet grew to planned strength in the mid-1950s, it formed the bulk- carrying nucleus of every major U.S. military airlift operation conducted from that time up until the late 1960s. Some of the C-124's more notable achievements included moving an entire squadron of Lockheed F-104s from the U.S. to Taiwan during the Formosa Straits Crisis in 1958; during Operation Deep Freeze (1957-1962), regular airdrops from C-124s formed the supply line from McMurdo Base to outlying stations in the Antarctic; and as part of Operation Big Lift in 1963, MATS C-124s moved the 2nd Armored Division and a TAC Strike Force from U.S. bases to Germany in two and a half days.

At their peak in 1963, 377 C-124s were operating with 20 different transport squadrons. As American involvement in Southeast Asia escalated in the mid-1960s, C-124s began flying transport sorties directly into South Vietnam, and from early 1966, continued with Military Airlift Command (MAC) when that organization replaced MATS. Although the USAF started the process of phasing- out C-124s from frontline service and transferring them to reserve and ANG units in mid-1960s, the type's bulk cargo capacity was not matched until Lockheed C-5s became operational with MAC during 1969-1970. From 1964 to 1972, to augment MATS/MAC operations, USAF reserve units flew C-124s on overseas sorties from eleven different bases within the continental U.S., and starting in 1966, they also served in eight ANG squadrons until the last examples were retired in mid-1974, finally ending the type's military service. The last recorded flight of a C-124 occurred on October 9, 1986 when C-124C AF Ser. No. 52-0994 was ferried from Selfridge ANG Base, Michigan to McChord AFB, Washington.

E.R.Johnson "American military transport aircraft since 1925", 2013

There was little doubt of the load-carrying capability of the C-74 and when, in late 1947, the newly-formed US Air Force decided it needed a heavy strategic cargo transport, discussions between the.USAF and Douglas resulted in development of the C-124 Globemaster II, based on the C-74.

In fact, the prototype YC-124 was basically the fifth C-74 provided with a new, deeper fuselage and strengthened landing gear. Powered by 2610kW R-4360-49 radial engines, it was flown for the first time on 27 November 1949. The type entered production as the C-124A, of which 204 were built, the first of them entering service with the USAF in May 1950. The next, and final, production version was the C-124C, with more-powerful R-4360 engines, weather radar in a distinctive nose radome and, equally useful recognition points, wingtip fairings housing combustion heaters to de-ice the wing and tailplane leading edges and to heat the cabin. C-124C production totalled 243, the last machine being delivered during May 1955.

The fuselage of the Globemaster II had clamshell nose loading doors with an associated built-in loading ramp, an electric hoist amidships which was a carry-over from the C-74, and two overhead cranes (each with a capacity of 7257kg which could traverse the entire length of the 23.47m-long cargo hold. The flight deck, accommodating a crew of five, was mounted high in the nose, over the clamshell doors. When used in a transport role (with two decks installed), the Globemaster II could carry a maximum of 200 fully-equipped troops, or 123 stretcher cases plus 45 ambulatory patients and 15 medical attendants.

Serving with the USAF's Air Materiel Command, Far Eastern Air Force, Military Air Transport Service, Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command, and used in conjunction with Douglas C-133s, the Globemaster Us remained in service until replaced by the Lockheed C-5A Galaxy during 1970.

When the Globemaster Is ended their useful, service life; some were acquired by civil cargo operators.

D.Donald "The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft", 1997

Douglas C-124 Globemaster II

 ENGINE4 x P+W R-4360-63, 2795kW
  Take-off weight84000 kg185189 lb
  Wingspan53.1 m174 ft 3 in
  Length39.8 m131 ft 7 in
  Height14.7 m48 ft 3 in
  Wing area233.0 m22507.99 sq ft
  Cruise speed520 km/h323 mph
  Ceiling6100 m20000 ft
  Range w/max.fuel6500 km4039 miles
  Range w/max payload1970 km1224 miles

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Bob Edwards, e-mail, 24.02.2021 23:46

Here's a question for anyone whose memory or research stretches back to the Korean War.

In the USAF Statistical Digest for FY 1953, Table 76, there's a list of combat and airlift squadrons that operated the C-124. The squadrons are identified by the codes 1-1360P and 1-1360W (troop carrier, heavy); 1-1552P and 1-1552W (air transport); 1-1535 (logistic support) and 1-1534P (strategic support). The table specifies that P means peacetime and W means wartime; but the P and W appear to be different squadrons, with different numbers of personnel.

In the Air Force Historical Research Agency site, there's no reference to any squadron that had these numbers (e.g. there's no "1552nd Squadron"). Does anyone know what the codes mean?


James C. "Speedy" Wheeler, e-mail, 26.09.2020 17:34

Got a Question; During flight wasn't the Landing Gear control handle carried in the Neutral Position while in-flight? If you can please let me know, My Email Address is: Thank you in advance. James C. "Speedy" Wheeler 19th LSS


Anonymous, 11.02.2021 James C. "Speedy" Wheeler

Speedy about your question on the landing gear handle on the C-124. Its been a long time (1963 last time I flew)but when I would go out into the crawl ways to check engines, I would first go to the cockpit and have the pilot put a sign(with a string loop on it) and hang it on the landing gear leaver. The sign said" man in the crawl ways" or something to like that as a notice to not drop the gear. It seems a though the handle was in the up position. The handle had a plastic miniature main gear tire that was red. If the throttles were pulled back too far in flight the tire lit up in red and a warning horn came on. Denis Neal


Bob Edwards PhD, e-mail, 03.01.2021 James C. "Speedy" Wheeler

Does anyone remember a Robert Bruce Broady from Oregon, who was a USAF loadmaster in the Korean War and probably flew on C-124s? I'm writing a book about an incident in which he may have played an important part.


Bob Edwards PhD, e-mail, 10.02.2021 Bob Edwards PhD

Any former colleagues of Robert Bruce Broady, C-124 loadmaster in Korean War, my e-mail is


Denis NealMsgt USAF Ret, e-mail, 27.08.2020 06:48

To all but especially to Bruce Harding who was with C-124s in Alaska I was assigned to the 1727h Support Sq at Elmendorf from Aug 59 to Mar 63 I worked on a C-124s Mostly Cs in what was known as "Operation Shoe Horn" We got heavy stuff like Cats Fire Trucks Etc into very short runways. One you mentioned was Sparvon where you had to land on a runway uphill. I went many times to Shymya which was half way to Japan at the end of the Aleutian chain. We had 5 engine changes on one airplane in one month because they had to use max power so much. Take off 2800 RPMS at 62 inches of MP I had an engine Cond Card as an A2C Loved ole Shaky


earle, e-mail, 19.02.2018 03:54

My first exposure to the C-124 was at Dobbins AFB. Before I actually saw the C-124, I heard "trumpeting", and I asked one of the sergeants what the noise was. He was most pleasant and said it was the elephants we were bringing back from Africa. I fund out a little later that day, the sound actually came from the brakes of the C-124. I enlisted and spent five years working on the C-124's as an electrician (technically) all over Europe. It was a wonderful old airplane, a good sleeper with four R-4360's to roar you to sleep, and mostly easy to work on.


Joe Warren, e-mail, 16.01.2018 16:37

I was stationed at the Charleston AFB in1967 attached to the 437th maintenance squadron. My AFSC was 42370 aircraft electrical systems. My first assignment was called the Conduit Shop Here we removed the electrical harnesses in the cowling of the C-124 aircraft when the PrattWhiitney engines were going through overhaul. Once removed, they rewired to be reinstalled at a later time. I looking for photos contact information concerning this facility and their function .Any information concerning this electrical shop would be appreciated.


Bill Monroe, e-mail, 27.12.2017 06:38

Worked on C-124s for over 3 years at Hickam AFB, Hawaii and was told that the red light in the nose was a taxi light, to be used when taxiing. For what its worth. Aloha.


Denis NealMsgt USAF Ret, e-mail, 27.08.2020 Bill Monroe

Bill i contacted you in AZ. It seems we have so many health problems now (we are in our 80s) We are in Nebraska now and with the riots and virus I don't know hen we will be back to possibly meet you. I still think of you almost being sucked out of the nacelle when they dropped the gear on you in the inboard wheel well. I have been on this site all evening enjoying the comments. One guy a hydraulic mech crawled out with a cargo strap attached to him and unlocked a hung up main gear. Hope this finds you and yours well. Most people who know a little about mechanics don't believe me when I tell them I worked on an airplane with 4 28 cylinder engines.


GARY G MCGAFFIC, e-mail, 12.05.2020 Bill Monroe

the red nose lite was called the passing lite as marked on the switch on the overhead panel if you were taxiing
or inflight the procedure was to pass to the RIGHT.


barney sherwooe, e-mail, 14.12.2017 02:06

Can any C 124 expert tell me the purpose of the red nose light on the C 124. We have one at the AF Museum here in Dayton and I have heard different story's of the light


clifton mason, e-mail, 27.09.2017 15:20

Clifton Mason, 25.06.2010
I went through loadmaster school at Dover AFB June and July of 1964. I was stationed at Charleston AFB 17th ATS and flew numerous special missions until Sept. 1966. I took the first C124C to leave Charleston P.C.S. . When the first C 141 replaced it the news media was there on the 14th of Aug. 1965. The C124C went to Hickem AFB . We brought A c124a back to the reserves unit in Fort Worth rwxas. I also trained two loadmasters from Fort Worth when they changed from C119's to the 124. Flew TDY out of RheinMain from Oct. 1965 to Jan 1966. I flew alot of missions in and out of Viet Nam. Met a lot of good people during this time. Don't remember alot of names but do remember some. These people would have been from different squadroms. The 17th the 41st the 3rd and the 76th at Charleston. Also I was at Donaldson AFB from Oct. 62-May of 63, Orlando AFB from May 63-May 64. During my four years of serviceI met alot of people from all over the world and different bases.I loved every minute of it and if anyone remembers these times and places or me please e-mail me. I am trying to find if there are any reunions.

Clifton Mason, 21.06.2010
I am trying to find out if there are reunions of the 17th squadron. I was a loadmaster.


Wayne Weaver, e-mail, 28.08.2017 00:52

I was on duty one Sunday in 1955 when 4 C-124s landed at Oceana Naval Air Station. The first one opened the nose door extended a ramp and a crewman on a Vespa motor scooter came down the ramp. He said they were to pick up some cadets who had been there over the summer. He gave me a complete tour of the aircraft. Very impressive since our squadron was flying the AD-6 Skyraider.


Chuck Lavoie, e-mail, 16.08.2017 20:40

I was and FE on C-124s at Kelly AFB, I agree with Bill Heaphy's comment about spark plug fouling. I too had gone to through an ignition analyzer course and was taught how to correctly keep those 224 spark plugs from fouling.


Bill Heaphy, e-mail, 15.08.2017 08:41

Mr. Bachman jogs my old memory bank. One of the many ground training schools I volunteered for was a 3 day class on spark plugs taught by a factory rep.. Plug tip temps, deposits, use of the mixture control to raise tip temps, along with a good engine analyzer put an end to many of those "recommend block plug change" write ups. That's 224 spark plugs for the unknowing reader. With that knowledge and the fact I loved working on those old recips a few crews found themselves back at the aircraft in about one hour. Taxiing with the mixture controls in Full Rich for a long distance is a good way to foul plugs. A Metro Officer or Flight Line OIC asked me to show him how we managed to get the plugs clean and sat behind me at the Flight Engineers panel while we did it. Mistreating such a wonderful old girl never sat we4ll with me.


Harold Bachman, e-mail, 14.08.2017 10:46

At Hickam 1958-1961. Some crews in wanting to spend more time in Waikiki would take the bird out to the runway, take the engines to full power and foul all the plugs and return for a complete plug change. Can't say I blame them but disliked changing all those plugs.


Jack DeChristopher, e-mail, 26.07.2017 01:18

I was stationed at Hickam AFB in the 61st OMS squadron from 1967 through January 1970. The last year I was there I was assigned as Crew Chief of 52-1004, which is now on display at Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ. From what I have learned, out of 448 made, only 9 still exist!
I had the pleasure of going to the museum and see the old girl again...a moving experience. It really brought back the memories.


Bill Heaphy, e-mail, 20.06.2017 03:51

Based at Hickam 1959-62 with 1502 PMS. Was really in love with the C-124 until that slick , sexy, machine came in from McChord. The C-118 became my new love and still is. Was pressurized. Carried pax. Had nice smooth running R-2800,s. Not that oil leaking, jug spitting, R-4360 monster. Was doing a full power check on #2 "motor" on very dark night during the Laos Operation. Master cylinder on front row departed the aircraft allowing the slave pistons to exit there cylinders. Big,long orange flame about 15 feet forward of propeller. ( intake pipe broke off allowing fuel to spray into broken spark plug wire that was firing away). Kid working fireguard was a hangar guy not use to running aircraft departed the scene leaving headset on the ground. Fire department did not wait for a call. Area was full of blue pickup trucks, bird colonels, and little civil service guys in silver suits. When they dropped the bottom cowl section I spotted 4 wrist pins not in their cylinders any longer and bunches of small gears. Total loss. Better on the ramp then in the air though. Trapshoot now with a retired cop named Ken Crowder who was in FLMS at same time. Started me down a very rewarding career. I owe the Air Force a lot.

reply, 13.06.2017 08:32

Tech school from Amarillo and to Hickam AFB. 67-70 6486th /61st FMS, Airfram Structural Repair (Sheetmetal.) TRY to P.I., Travis, Okinawa. C-124 our specialty.


Bill Monroe, e-mail, 07.05.2017 03:20

I didn't realize that my email address doesn't appear in my posts. For any of you who want to contact me, I'm at Love to hear from any of you C-124 buffs. I have visited the 124's at McChord, Travis, Hill as well as the Pima Air Museum in Tucson. I've collected pictures from a variety of sources as well as books. Hope to hear from Jim Carpenter or Bob Gillihan. I think I remember you. Aloha


Bill Monroe, e-mail, 07.05.2017 02:45

lohaI was stationed at Hickam from 59-62. An aircraft mechanic AFSC 43151. Worked on C-124's and C-118's. First assigned to 1502 FLMS in base assigned section, worked in the post docks across from squadron HQ. Lived in area 61 in WWII barracks and was later transferred to 1502 PMS when post flight duties were reassigned. I have a strange gift of trivia. I can remember all the tail numbers of the C-124's assigned to the 1502 ATW. I've found numerous pictures of them on line but I've yet to find a sound clip of that screaming expander tube brakes that were the signature of the 124. If anyone knows of has a clip of the 124 taxiing with the APU lending their distinctive sound to the mix, I'd love to hear from you. BTW, I remember Sgt. Boken and it was Major Green when I was there. This last for the benefit of Jim Carpenter who served at about the same time as me. If you read this Jim, let hear from you. I think we will know some people common to us both. Aloha


Al spence, e-mail, 15.04.2017 03:41

Worked on 124s. Looking for anyone that recalls AGENT ORANGE being transported on them


Dennis Tyra, e-mail, 12.04.2017 03:49

Had an ROTC orientation flight in a Shakey in the late '60s. During an engine runup prior to takeoff I thought the whole thing would shake to pieces. I felt like being run through a food blender.


Jim Carpenter, e-mail, 02.03.2017 01:33

I was stationed at Hickam AFB, from Sept. 1960 to Nov / 1963 assigned to the 1502 FLMS designation 43151 worked in all capacities in maintaining transit aircraft including C135, KC135, C124, C121, C119, C97, C130's and a real piece of work the C133, Worked under Master Sgt. Boken, Squadron Commander was Col. Tom Green. Left Hickam and was reassigned to Elemendorf AFB, AK Left AF in 1965 as a Staff Sgt. which I had stayed for 20. really missed my time in the AF.


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