U.S. Army via Wikimedia Commons
1885: Gen. George Smith Patton Jr., best known for his leadership during World War II, is born in San Gabriel, California. Patton, who developed a reputation for eccentricity and for sometimes-controversial gruff outspokenness, commanded corps and armies during World War II in North Africa, Sicily and the European Theater of Operations. In 1944, he assumed command of the U.S. Third Army, which under his leadership advanced farther, captured more enemy prisoners, and liberated more territory in less time than any other army in history. He was also the focus of the epic 1970 Academy Award-winning film "Patton," with the title role played by George C. Scott. He died of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 60 on Dec. 21, 1945, in Heidelberg, Germany, 12 days after suffering a cervical spinal cord injury in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.