This article investigates the damage imparted on load-bearing carbon fibers during the 3D weaving process and the subsequent compaction behavior of 3D woven textile preforms. The 3D multi-layer reinforcements were manufactured on a textile loom with few mechanical modifications to produce preforms with fibers orientated in the warp, weft, and through-the-thickness directions. Tensile tests were conducted on three types of commercially available carbon fibers, 12k HTA, 6k HTS, and 3k HTS in an attempt to quantify the effect of fiber damage induced during the 3D weaving process on the mechanical and physical performance of the fiber tows in the woven composite. The tests were conducted on fiber tows sampled from different locations in the manufacturing process from the bobbin, through the creel and loom mechanism, to the final woven fabric. Mechanical and physical testing were then conducted to quantify the tow geometry, orientation and the effect of compaction during manufacture of two styles of 3D woven composite by vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VaRTM).