Retired Army Brig. Gen. William R. Currie, 71, former commander of the chemical center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, died Sunday at Walter Reed Hospital after a heart attack.

He was commanding officer at Aberdeen from 1948 to 1951. His last assignment, from 1955 until he retired in 1958, was at the Pentagon.

Gen. Currie then worked at the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory for 14 years before a second retirement. He lived in University Park, Md.

Born in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., he graduated from West Point in 1938. He taught mathematics there before World War II.

During the war, Gen. Currie commanded U.S. Army forces in Liberia and was military adviser to the president of that country.

He took graduate courses in mathematics and physics at Columbia University after the war. Between his Aberdeen and Pentagon assigment, he was chemical training commander at Ft. McCullan, Ala.

Gen. Currie's decorations included the Legion of Merit, the order of the British Empire and the French cruix de Guerre.

He is survived by four daughters, Antoinette Gammell, at Altadena, Calif., Jeanne C. Welch, of Upper Marlboro, Virginia Farmer, of Severn, Md., and Mary Harding, of New Carrollton: a sister, Virginia Erickson, of Fresno, Calif., and three grandchildren.