This small notice is interesting for what it doesn't say: of all the uniform foppery and up-town military accessories that were made available for American officers of World War I, there was no run on serge, whipcord or fine Melton wools; pigskin was plentiful for custom boots and no one seemed fearful that pewter flasks were scarce. What was in short supply were trench coats. The officer candidates from Plattsburg (N.Y.) were making their desires known: they did not care to risk life and limb only to wear a mackinaw. These men wanted trench coats and the New York Times found that newsworthy (It is interesting to note that the reporting journalist had never actually seen one, or else he might not have said that it extended to the ankle).
Click here to read more about the history of the trench coat.