U.S. Army via Wikimedia Commons
1945: Gen. George Smith Patton Jr., best known for his leadership during World War II, dies of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 60 in Heidelberg, Germany, 12 days after suffering a cervical spinal cord injury in a car accident and being paralyzed from the neck down. 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.