Hawaii would have been fine with me too! Instead we were sitting in freezing tents listening to the 'enemy'. And they knew we were listening; talking about recipes and soccer. The 'food' was a joke; I wouldn't feed my dog what they gave us. And no veteran affairs, nothing. No pension, not even the acknowledgement of sacrifice. Because in the old country military service is seen as citizen's duty. We all hated it and counted the months, weeks and days to discharge. You on the other hand volunteered? For 85 bucks and some gourmet cuisine? :-))
I remember my first job in the new country in the early 80s, made 25G a year and a townhouse in the suburbs of Toronto was 42G. A no brainer for sure. Today I would make around 70G in my profession and townhouses go for 400G and up. No comparison, we had a better opportunity than the coming generations.
From the world wars up until the end of Vietnam, we did have a draft in the US. Everyone my age grew up knowing full well that we would be required to spend two years in the Army. Some volunteered for the Navy or Air Force to avoid the infantry. But you went. Some avoided the draft for medical reasons, some for special jobs that made them exempt, like working in the defense industry. I eventually got my notice to register for the draft. I actually attempted to volunteer for the army, thinking I might get a better job, which of course was nothing more than an idiotic daydream, but during the recruitment interview, I informed the recruiting officer that I had a knee operation the previous year. He dramatically threw down his pen on his desk, and said he was tired of knee operations, but he would do me a "special favor" and get me in the army anyway. That was when it first occurred to me that my knee operation could be my ticket out of the army and sure duty in Vietnam.
I was requesting duty in the Combat Engineers, because I mistakenly thought it wouldn't involve killing people or getting killed. I can't believe I was that dumb. So when I was later called to report for my physical, I went to Spokane, Washington where I spent a day standing around in my underwear with a bunch of other guys as we got pushed, prodded, and humiliated by a bunch of assholes in uniform. One sergeant came into the group and said anyone having any objections could put on some boxing gloves and he'd teach them a lesson. No one took him as anything other than a blowhard, and we just ignored him.
To keep this short, it turned out that my knee operation did keep me out of the army. I was told I would be recalled a year later to retake the physical, so when my second notice came there was a section in the form that told me to attach a doctor's statement if I had any thing wrong that might disqualify me from the draft. I went to my doctor and asked for a statement, but all he wrote was that I indeed did have a knee operation, but nothing more than that. I don't know, maybe that was the best the doctor could do for me because we would see each other on the ski hill every Saturday and Sunday, and it was kind of obvious I wasn't having any problems with my knee. But I wrote in the place where I could comment, and described everything that was wrong with my knee. I didn't lie, but I listed everything I could think of, and I have to admit it sounded worse than it was.
So I missed Vietnam when it was in full swing, and by that time, I really had lost interest in "defending my country" from the domino effect of a communist takeover. I knew guys that came home in body bags, or maybe even worse, some that came home as mental vegetables. Some guys weathered it and seemed OK. Others were seriously messed up. Something was happening over there that was most definitely not good for people.