Retired Army Col. Gordon Singles, 73, an infantry officer who commanded a battalion and then a regiment in World War II, died of cancer Thursday at Alexandria Hospital.

Col. Singles was born into an Army family in Philadelphia and was raised on various posts in the United States and the Philippines.

He began his military career as an enlisted man in 1924. He gained admittance to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1931. He served in the Panama Canal Zone, at stations in the United States, and graduated from the Infantry School at Fort Benning, La.

During World War II, he commanded a Japanese-American battalion in North Africa and then at Anzio and in other campaigns in Italy.In late 1944, he became commander of the 397th Infantry Regiment in France and remained in command of that unit the war in Europe ended in May 1945.

Col. Singles' post-war assignments included duty at the Infantry School, in the Philippines, and Japan, where he commanded the Japan Replacement Training Center after the outbreak of the Korean conflict. He later graduated from the Army War College and served in France.

His last post was executive officer to the Inspector General of the Army.

He was in the office of the Inspector General from 1957 until his retirement in 1961. He lived in Alexandria.

Col. Singles' military decoration included the Legion of Merit, four Bronze Star medals, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the French Croix de Guerre and the Italian Cross of Valor.

His first wife, the former Gretchen C. Tritch, died in 1970.

Survivors include his wife, Josephine, of Alexandria; a son, Gordon C., of Denver; a brother , Walter Singles Jr. of Pittsburgh, and three grandchildren.