Robert Samuel Salzer, 68, a retired Navy vice admiral and a former commander of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam, died Jan. 30 at the National Institutes of Health of complications of heart surgery. He lived in McLean.

Adm. Salzer was born in New York City. He graduated from Yale University and received a master's of business administration from George Washington University.

He joined the Navy in 1941. During World War II, he served in the Atlantic and the Pacific on mine sweepers and amphibious assault ships. After the war, he served aboard various ships and at shore stations in this country and abroad.

He served in Vietnam during the late 1960s. He returned to Vietnam in 1971 and served as commander of naval forces. He later was commander of Naval Service Forces of the Pacific Fleet before retiring in 1975. His military decorations include three Navy Distinguished Service Medals.

Adm. Salzer, who had maintained a home in the Washington area since just after World War II, was a past president of the Navy Relief Society.

He was active in several organizations that assist the elderly and the handicapped.

Survivors include his wife, Jane Salzer of McLean; four sons, Thomas and David Salzer, both of McLean, James Salzer of Irvine, Calif., and Robert Salzer Jr. of Philadelphia, and four grandchildren.