Ward S. Ryan, 73, a retired Army major general who commanded paratroopers during World War II and prisoner-of-war camps in Korea during the war there, died of cancer Oct. 3 at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

Gen. Ryan was born in Billings, Mont., and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was assigned to parachute units in the United States and in Europe during World War II, then served in the United States and in Canada after the war. During the Korean War he was commander of POW camps at the Koje-Do complex, and he later served as chief of staff of the United Nations Command Repatriation Group.

He was assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., in 1965 and 1966, then spent two years in Saudi Arabia where he was chief of the U.S. Military Training Mission.

For two years before his retirement in 1972 he was deputy commanding general of Fifth Army Reserve forces at Fort Sheridan, Ill.

Gen. Ryan's military decorations include a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, the Legion of Merit and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.

A resident of Fairfax, he moved to the Washington area shortly after his retirement from the Army.

Gen. Ryan's first wife, the former Margaret Heckle, died in March. Survivors include his wife, Chung Cha, of Fairfax; two daughters of his first marriage, Erin Rota, of Palo Alto, Calif., and Mary Ryan of Bethesda; a sister, Helen Obucina of Maitland, Fla., and three grandchildren.