It's hard to believe 2023 is coming to a close. They say time flies when you're having fun, and serving another year as Editor-in-Chief for We Are The Mighty has been an honor. One of our most important exercises is to look at how our pieces perform. What do our readers like? What do they want more of? We exist solely to educate, entertain and inform you, our audience.
Let's take a look back at the year's most memorable moments.
We started off the year with more Ukraine content, as the one-year mark of the invasion of Ukraine approached. The piece The United States is dusting off Cold War-era weapons for use in Ukraine was one of our top performers of the month. Also reaching the top of our January content chart was this excellent piece by Joel Searls about Marines who went on to become famous actors. Almost all of our writers are veterans or military spouses. Joel currently serves as a major in the Marine Corps Reserve as a civil affairs officer and COMMSTRAT officer and is WATM's senior entertainment writer. You can find all of Joel's pieces here.
In February, the team from We Are The Mighty traveled to sunny Arizona to partner with USAA at their Salute to Service lounge - one of my favorite assignments of the year, and not just because I'm a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan. There, we interviewed players, veterans who were gifted tickets to the big game, and even the first all-female flyover team. Justin Jefferson taught me how to "hit the griddy" and I even got to kick (and make!) a field goal. Watch the recap here:
In March, our Ukraine content performed the best and also this piece by Miguel Ortiz: The reason troops don’t load 30 rounds in 30-round magazines. Miguel commissioned as an Army officer in 2017 and specializes in interesting and obscure military history. You can find all of Miguel's pieces here.
April is the month of the military child! In addition to great military family content, we had a piece that every inner-child would love: This fighter was so advanced, we sent a recording to aliens written by Logan Nye. Logan is a long-time WATM author, having written over 1,700 pieces for us. An Army paratrooper with the 82nd, he offers unique insight into history and current events. You can find his collection (I think after 1,000 we can safely call it that) here.
One of my kids' favorite jokes: April showers bring May flowers and what do Mayflowers bring? Pilgrims!
May also brought a lot of pieces about Memorial Day, how to honor our fallen and the importance of remembering our heroes. We couldn't keep it all somber on WATM all month, so also breaking our top 5 of best pieces in May was this one by Ruddy Cano: 22 best military memes of the week for when trucks are late again. We love memes and we sure do love Ruddy. Ruddy served in the Marine Corps and brings his great sense of humor to everything he does. You can find his pieces here.
In June, we honored the 79th anniversary of D-Day. Since our inception, we've published thousands of articles about that day and about the Greatest Generation of heroes. But it was a piece by Miguel Ortiz in which he interviewed an Army Armor officer about the usage of the Bradley Tank in Ukraine that took the number one spot in June. It was an excellent article that performed exceptionally well, because Miguel's interview skills are just that top-notch. You can read that story here.
July is my favorite month of the year. It's my birthday month, which is always a great time to reflect on the year and make extra time for friends, family and gratitude. It's also the birth of our great nation! The pools are open, the ocean is calling, and vacations and barbeques abound. Readers also have a little more time on their hands, and July was one of our most popular months on record. Topping the page view chart was this awesome piece by, once again, Miguel Ortiz: A Navy submarine captain set the record for the deepest ocean dive.
In August, Logan Nye once again tipped the scales with this great article about a forest dedicated to maintaining a Navy ship. In it he writes, "Wanna guess where one of the largest Navy installations by land mass is? A few hints: It's in a double-landlocked state, it's basically a quirk of history that the Navy even owns it, and it's vital to the preservation of the oldest active warship in the world. It's Naval Support Activity Crane in Indiana. Yeah, it's named so inconspicuously that it could be a setting in The Simpsons. And while Indiana has a little Great Lakes frontage thanks to Lake Michigan, NSA Crane is 200 miles from even that bit of moisture. So, how did a massive section of boring forest far from the water become an essential Navy base?"
Kids are finally back in school, temperatures start to drop in the slightest way and fall is finally on the horizon: let's hear it for September. This September 1, Parrot Heads around the world felt the incredible loss of their fearless leader, the one and only Jimmy Buffet. Buffet was more than just a great singer; he was a true patriot. Topping the WATM chart for this month was another Miguel Ortiz special, this one dedicated to Buffet himself: Jimmy Buffett donated two WWII planes to a military museum.
October is always an insane month for the team at WATM: we're prepping for Veterans Day content and also our Super Bowl: The Mighty 25 awards. While we're busy prepping, we are still publishing every day, and certainly the world doesn't slow down. October's number one piece was by Logan Nye, titled Army Tactical Missile System could finally break Russia’s spine.
It's the most wonderful time of the year and my very favorite part about being EIC for WATM: The Mighty 25 awards gala. What started as an annual published list of 25 men and women doing remarkable things for the military community has grown to a sold-out gala hosted in conjunction with the Military Influencer Conference. This year, we had the privilege of hosting 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman James Harvey and many others on this year's list. Our incredible senior feature writer (and Coast Guard spouse!) Jessica Manfre interviews all of the recipients and writes beautiful tributes to the impressive work they're doing. See all of Jessica's pieces here, including this year's Mighty 25.
In December, the most popular piece we had was one written by yours truly about one of my favorite topics: Travis Kelce. It's always nice when I can justify reading the entire internet about Taylor Swift and my beloved Kansas City Chiefs. Who knew Travis Kelce’s grandfather was shot down 3 times during WWII? We did! And you can read about it here.
Just when we thought the year couldn't end on a higher note, WATM once again had the opportunity to partner with USAA to bring fantastic content from the annual Army-Navy game, presented by USAA. This year, we were on the field for the action, interviewing everyone from USAA's CEO Wayne Peacock to the spokesman himself, Gronk. What an incredible way to end the year!
Cheers to a fantastic 2023 and here's to a wonderful New Year!