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On [library edition] U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 there is a record where the Branch and Branch Code is listed as "Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA". What does that mean?

The particular entry I was looking at was for: Joseph K. MEAGHER (b. 1910, NY; residence Livingston Co., NY; enlistment date 26 May 1942).

Name: Joseph K MEAGHER Birth Year: 1910 [...] Enlistment Date: 26 May 1942 Enlistment State: Texas Enlistment City: Fort Sam Houston Branch: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA Branch Code: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA

[Abbreviations used in this post: b. = born; standard 2 letter postal abbreviation for states; Co. = County]

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Related question here: – fbrereto Jan 24 '13 at 18:26

I found a related question with an answer that might be illuminating. The answer reads in part:

Mariano S. Malapit was a Private in the US Army, when he went in. The “Branch Immaterial or Warrant Officer” is what they put on everyone’s Enlistment Record, unless they went in as Commissioned Officers.

It would appear the appointment "Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA" should be read "Branch Immaterial or Warrant Officers, USA".

If the above is true (and it should be verified!) then at the time Joseph K. Meagher was enlisted they did not care where he was going just yet - just that he had been drafted.

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The State Library of Kansas has a detailed discussion of possible entries in each field of the Army Serial Number Enlistment Card Records.

It is difficult to imagine that large numbers of men were drafted as Warrant Officers (a highly trained, experienced and responsible position). These were positions to be filled by professional soldiers. Yet a Google search using {Branch Immaterial} turns up a surprisingly large number of uses of this code.

This suggests that what began as a very specific reference (WO were not assigned to a service branch, but stood outside that structure) may have generated to be used to mean "not yet determined" (or even "I don't know.")

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