Retired Army Col. Henry E. Strickland, 76, who served as a ground officer with the Flying Tigers in World War II, died Saturday at the Bethesda Naval Hospital while undergoing cardiovascular surgery.

His last assignment from 1953 until retiring in 1955, was chief of the Vermont Military District based at Ft. Ethan Allen Air Force Base.

He then moved to Bethesda, where he engaged in real estate work for about 10 years.

Born in Albertville, Ala., Col. Strickland graduated from the Millitary Academy at West Point in 1922, and was commissioned in the Coast Artilery.

Before World War II, he was assigned to the Panama Canal Zone as well as posts in this country and Hawaii. During the war, he was in the China-Burma-India theater as chief of staff of the American Volunteer Group and the 14th Army Air Force under Gen. Claire Chenault. He also served with the Far East Air Force in Java and the 10th Air Force in India.

Col. Strickland became deputy chief of staff for personnel with the Army General Staff at the Pentagon in 1945. From 1950 to 1953, he was chief of the Fourth Advisory Region of occupation forces in Japan.

He is survived by his wife, Matilde Guiteras Strickland, of the home in Bethesda; three sons, retired Army Col. Hnery E. Jr., of Falls Church, G. Gregory, of Washington, and Dr. Robert G., of Syracuse, N.Y.; a brother, Ewart J., of Fresno, Calif., and eight grandchildren.