Retired Army Col. Milton E. Wertz, 65, a former legal officer with the Selective Service System and the General Accounting Office, died of cancer Tuesday at a West Palm Beach, Fla, hospital.

Col. Wertz was born in Butte, Mont. He earned a law degree at the University of Montana.

He moved here in 1935 and became an attorney with the GAO. A member of the Army Reserve, he was called to active duty in March 1941, and worked in the general counsel's office of Selective Service. He then served in the China Burma-India Theater, and returned to Selective Service where he worked until 1946, when he resumed his job as an attorney for the GAO.

Col. Wertz was recalled to active duty during the korean conflict and became assistant to the Selective Service general counsel. He retired from the Army in 1967. he then returned to the GAO where he became deputy assistant general counsel before retiring in 1974.

He had lived in Arlington from 1940 to 1974.

Col. Wertz held the Legion of Merit. He was a charter member and first chapter president of the Lewis B. Hershey chapter of the Reserve Officers Association.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia J., of the home in Lantana, Fla; two daughters, Mary V. Keena, of Bowie, and Helen Marie Martin, of Gaithersburg; a son, Army Maj. Paul F., of Port Mcpherson, Ga; two brothers, Sherman, of Missoula, Mont., and Wesley, of Rancho Bernardo, Galif, and six grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Salvation Army.