For you late arrivals, here's a brief bit of background to start to answer the question of what I'm doing in Afghanistan. I'll try to provide enough info to paint the picture, but not all the minute details.
As an Active Duty member of the military, a servicemember trains and deploys as part of a larger unit, exactly as I did when I was on Active Duty and deployed with VP-16 in 2006. Starting 10 or 11 years ago, with the US prosecuting wars in two countries, the military often found themselves with a shortage of people to fill key positions with deployed units. The result was what is known as an "Individual Augmentee", commonly referred to as an "IA". Quoting from the Navy website, "Individual Augmentees can be used to fill shortages or can be used when an individual with specialized knowledge or skill sets is required. As a result, Individual Augmentees can include members from an entirely different branch of service." Which is, of course, what I'm currently doing.
Servicemembers can come from both the Active Duty and Reserve ranks. In my case, as a Reservist, I was recalled and "mobilized" back on Active Duty for a year.
The first stop for IAs and mobilized Reservists is a Navy Mobilization Processing Site (NMPS), which is where I currently am. Details on what happens here next time......