Charles J. Simpson, 66, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army and the director of the medical history program at the Army Center of Military History, died of cardiac arrest June 5 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Col. Simpson, who was born in New York, attended the Sorbonne in Paris and Oxford and Columbia universities. He began his military career in 1941. During World War II, he was assigned to a general hospital in the China-Burma-India theater. After the war, he was part of a U.S. advisory group to the Nationalist Chinese army in Nanking, China.

Subsequently, Col. Simpson served in the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army in Washington, at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and in France and Germany. He was assigned to the historical unit of the Office of the Surgeon General as an historian and editor at the time of his retirement from the service in 1961.

He then became executive officer of the medical history program at the Army Center of Military History. He was director of the program at the time of his death.

His military honors included the Bronze Star Medal and decorations from Nationalist China and Italy.

A resident of Potomac, he was a vestryman of the St. Francis Episcopal Church. He also was a trustee of the National Capitol Historical Society.

Survivors include his wife, the former Ann Townsend, of Potomac; two children, Marianna Shreve Simpson and Charles J. Simpson Jr., both of Washington, and one grandson.