Bob Gore, inventor of Gore-Tex, dies

| September 20, 2020

Gore-Tex Jacket

You probably don’t immediately know the name of Gore, but he kept us dry. Bob Gore’s invention of a breathable, waterproof fabric would revolutionize American military field gear. He passed this week at the age of 83.

Gore, who went by “Bob,” is best known for his 1969 discovery of a versatile polymer, the first breathable waterproof fabric. He introduced the world to the Gore-Tex technology in 1976. Gore was president of the Newark-based company from 1976 to 2000.

Gore “paved the way for advancements in industries as varied as performance fabrics, medical devices, space exploration and filtration, assumed the chairman emeritus role in 2018 after 57 years of service on the Gore board, 30 of those as chairman,” the company said in a statement announcing his death.

While not a veteran himself, Mr. Gore’s inventions undoubtedly helped many of us weather (pun intended) uncomfortable conditions while in our service.

Category: We Remember

Comments (51)

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  1. Fm2176 says:

    RIP, I have many of his company’s products.

    • Combat Historian says:

      I have a surplus BDU Goretex parka in my car right now for foul weather use.

      I’m old enough to remember the ancient rubber parka the Army used to issue, a nasty impermeable piece of work that didn’t breathe and left you soaked in your own hotbox of sweat. Then Big Green issued the breathable rubberized OD rain jacket, but the breathable rubberized coating started rubbing and flaking off the jacket within a few weeks or months of garrison or field use. The BDU goretex parka was a godsend when it was finally issued to us…

      • David says:

        And the smell of the poncho/rubber rain jacket/pants when you opened them after a long time stowed would gag a maggot. The joys of galoshes or Mickey Mouse boots. Surprised we all didn’t wind up kinky after getting all hot and sweaty wearing all that rubber stuff.

        • Combat Historian says:

          It smelled like a combination of over-ripe blue cheese and somebody’s seriously unwashed underarm; I remember that smell like it was from yesterday…

      • timactual says:

        “left you soaked in your own hotbox of sweat.”

        Amen. I managed to obtain a “rain suit” when I was in RVN. Thought I was lucky until I actually wore it in the rain; just like the poncho, hotter and wetter on the inside. At least the rain washed off some of the sweat and dirt.

      • rgr1480 says:

        And lined with a poncho liner — beautifully hot … and more sweat than Niagara Falls.

        ……Niagara Falls!! Sloooooly I turned, step bu step, inch by inch…..

        • timactual says:

          In my unit in Germany there was a great demand for what we called a “Baumholder jacket” (named after our always popular maneuver area). Take one poncho and one wool blanket to the German tailor and he would make a warm, dry, and toasty hooded coat.

          …Niagara Falls….
          Prefer the Abbot & Costello version(s) myself.

      • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

        “The BDU goretex parka was a godsend when it was finally issued to us…”

        MY favorite piece of TA-50 Gear right after the Woobie!

  2. Combat Historian says:

    I’m surprised Al Gore didn’t claim to invent goretex, since he claimed he invented the internet, global warming, and everything else…

  3. Hack Stone says:

    And yet, the criminals who created the MRE walk free. SMDH.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      I thought MREs were pretty good.

      Mostly.

    • Roh-Dog says:

      The crime was replacing the greatest meal ever, Country Captain Chicken, with that abomination Veggie Omelette.
      If anyone finds that guy, Louisville his knees for me please.

    • timactual says:

      I think the doctrine of “qualified immunity” is in play here.

    • David says:

      Never ate Cs, huh…

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        I have.

        MREs were much better, but tended to be bland. I quickly learned to keep a few small bottles of spices in my ruck, stuff not in the DFAC. Weighed nearly nothing and made all the difference. Also made good trade goods in the field.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Meals Rejected by Ethiopians, Mostly Recycled Entrails… The old dark brown ones in the early 90s weren’t all bad EXCEPT for the Omelet with Ham, may its inventor be chained to my Ex-Wife in a windowless room…

      • Mason says:

        I never had the omelet one. Getting it was honestly one of my biggest fears when they’d crack open a new case.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        I do not recall any “breakfast” MREs.

        I used to make a breakfast out of a pack of the crackers, a freeze-dried fruit, several creamers and a sugar or two, crush the crackers crumbs, add the rest, add water and stir. The “(whatever) Nut Cake” also worked.

        We were advised to drink a canteen of water with an MRE. Never had “output” issues as long as I followed that advice. Idiots that ate the “Track pads” dry suffered the consequences. (Track pad = freeze-dried meat patty)

        • timactual says:

          One good thing about C rats– no water needed. With good water always seeming to be in short supply it always seemed odd to me they would issue rations that required it.

      • timactual says:

        r” the Omelet with Ham,”

        really? They kept that?

        There was a C-ration meal, “Ham and Eggs, Chopped” which was universally detested. Even Tabasco didn’t help. The fact that they kept that particular item proves that the folks at Natick(?) did not have the best interests of the troops at heart. Probably infiltrated by the commies.

  4. Roh-Dog says:

    Mr Gore, thank you for keeping this guy warm and dry a’many time.
    The Gortex Bivy when combined with the woobie may be the greatest weapon in the US arsenal.

  5. 5th/77th FA says:

    My US (GO) Army (BEAT NAVY) Military Service ended before I could take advantage of either Mr. Gore’s Tex, Mr. Gore’s inherwebz, or the MRE. Lucky me? I do still have nightmares/flashbacks of Ham and M’fers, sweating/freezing in OD Green Clothing Articles, and the clear and present danger of paper cuts from looking up stuff in a World Book/Britannica.

    Mr. Gore’s Tex did keep us Line Construction Crews mostly dry and semi warm in all kinds of weather while trying to rebuild your storm damaged inherwebz lines. Sometimes, when it was particularly nasty the multi layers required due to the changes of weather we may see thru out a shift would cause me to resemble the Michelien Tire Man. Or the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

  6. Sapper3307 says:

    Thanks for the synthetic layers, JRTC sucked a lil less.
    RIP Bob

  7. IDC SARC says:

    I remember the pre-gortex military. Wool shirts were the shit…until ya got wet.

    RIP sir.

  8. Berliner says:

    R.I.P. At Ft Drum my 1st winter in 1985/6 (108 inches of snowfall total) we had the Gore-tex pants and parka and polypropylene long johns and would just lay down to sleep in the snow.

    The next winter we got the Gore-tex 1 person tents from Natick labs, a major quality of life improvement. Initially we were also issued the SF Mountain boots. Designed for mountaineering, these had steel toes and caused a lot of frostbitten toes that first winter. They then issued everyone Matterhorn boots.

  9. Ex Coelis says:

    Jackets, hats, socks, bevy’s and a host of other life and mission enhancing products that a lot of soldiers are deeply grateful for – thank you and Rest In Peace Sir – you’ve earned it. I nominate Bob Gore for sainthood!!

  10. Skippy says:

    I couldn’t live without this stuff in Germany
    Rest Well

  11. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Have worn some of the outerwear that were made with his product… made things much more bearable.

    RIP Bob Gore..

  12. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Found a gor-tex hooded jacket at an outdoors store, marked “slightly irregular” and “clearance” for $20. Can’t find the irregularity and now over 10 years use.

    Best sawbuck I ever spent.

  13. Prior Service says:

    I ETS’d in 90 while still wearing the yellowish longjohns and the green wet weather gumby suit. By the time I came back in (94), we were wearing some solid cold weather gear. I got to where I really loved skipping the BDUs and wearing goretex pants and jacket over light polypro when it was cold and wet out in Germany. Good stuff, as long as nobody got all spun up about uniformity.

  14. AW1Ed says:

    Luvs my woobie! Desert pattern camo, Mrs.AW1 hates it. Until she curls up in it on the sofa for a snooze…

    • Combat Historian says:

      I kept three woobies (one each BDU, DCU, and ACU patterns) in my hootch at Camp Victory. They were absolute lifesavers when night temperatures in central Iraq dropped to the thirties during winter, and the hootch heater was not working properly, which was most of the time in my case…

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      “Woobie” wasn’t a thing then, but you can pry mine from my warm comfy dead hands.

      Maybe

  15. Cameron says:

    According to Wikipedia, it seems like Gore-Tex has also found a place in the medical field with the most recent use being in glaucoma surgery.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gore-Tex