Profile on JD Long - CORDURA® Brand's Global Innovation Manager
Reporting for Heavy Duty.
CORDURA® fabric has been with this soldier from Bosnia to Afghanistan to Iraq. Today, he’s returning the favor for other men and women in uniform by finding ways to make military gear more fit for duty than ever.
Retired Army Director of Operations Jonathan Long, nickname JD, recounts the story of an officer friend getting hit by a millimeter rocket. “If it wasn’t for his flame-resistant garment, his whole uniform would have caught fire. He would have died. Instead, we were able to get him outside, stop the bleeding and get him to a mobile hospital unit. He eventually returned to duty.”
After 22 years in the U.S. Army, JD understands one thing perfectly: a military uniform is more than merely symbolic of a nation’s strength. It must also physically be as strong, tenacious and capable as the men and women who wear it.
Today, as Global Innovation Manager at INVISTA, JD’s mission is to make sure the military is equipped with garments and gear made from fibers that perform under extreme conditions – while exploring innovative ways to make them even better.
For the U.S. military, the fabric of choice is very often INVISTA’s CORDURA® NYCO fabric. This robust blend of INVISTA’s T420 nylon 6,6 fiber and cotton is used to craft every combat uniform across all four branches of the U.S. military.
“I’m a believer,” JD exclaimed. “I’ve been to Afghanistan three times and once to Iraq. I’ve been to Bosnia, Central America and Korea. My whole career I was always protected by products made with CORDURA® fabric.”
Among JD’s roles is working with product development teams to help identify unmet needs of their largest customer – the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Before we can trust this gear to work for our soldiers, we put it through some pretty harsh testing. It’s tested in jungles and deserts by real soldiers in real life situations – such as 12 mile ruck marches through rugged, inhospitable terrain, scraping against rocks and trees. Not to mention, our rucksacks are thrown into irrigation canals in Iraq, off mountain sides in Afghanistan or dropped 30 feet from a helicopter,” JD added. “It all has got to hold together. If our fabric fails, our customer’s missions might fail too.”
So what exactly drives JD’s passion for military service? He’ll tell you this: all he ever wanted to do was make a difference.
“The military offers you a lot of opportunities to serve and make the world a better place.”
And from his own time in uniform to helping create the remarkable uniforms and gear of tomorrow’s service members, he’s still hard at it.