Retired Army Col. Gustave M. Heiss, 77, a decorated combat veteran of World War II who later worked for the Veterans Administration and the National Security Agency, died of cancer June 7 at his home in Arlington.

In World War II, Col. Heiss commanded a battalion in the 87th Infantry Division in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium in December 1944. He won the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Because of his wounds, he had to retire from the Army in 1946. From 1947 to 1955, he was chief of vocational rehabilitation and education at the VA. He then joined NSA, from which he retired in 1958.

Col. Heiss, who was born in Mississippi, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1931. He was a member of the U.S. fencing team and took part in the Olympics in 1932, winning a bronze medal, and in 1936.

In the 1960s and 1970s, he was a member of the Modern Pentathalon and Fencing Sports Committee.

His marriages to the former Virginia Jones and the former Hertha Waggoner ended in divorce.

Survivors include a son by his first marriage, Gustave M. Jr., of Richmond; two daughters by his second marriage, Marina M. and Andrea Heiss, both of Arlington, and two sisters, Margaret H. Chapman of Kansas City, Mo., and Louise H. Lipscomb of Hadenfield, N.J.