Edward E. Bennett, 78, a retired colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers who was active in alumni affairs of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., died Nov. 14 at Mount Vernon Hospital, where he had undergone open heart surgery.

Col. Bennett was born into an Army family in Coblenz, Germany, where his father was on occupation duty after World War I.

He grew up at various military posts in the United States and in China.

Col. Bennett graduated from West Point in 1943 and later received a master's degree in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In the course of his career, Col. Bennett served in the Ryukyu Islands in the Pacific, where he was deputy civil administrator, in Saudi Arabia, where he helped supervise construction of the Riyadh airport, and in Taiwan, where he was a member of the U.S. Military Assistance Group.

His assignments in the United States included a period as district engineer for the Corps of Engineers for the Chicago District.

Col. Bennett retired in the early 1960s for reasons of health and settled in Alexandria.

His military decorations included the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Dorothy Martin Bennett of Alexandria; two children, Gail Kangas of McLean and Edward Bennett of Tallahassee; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.