CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) – Seth Dupont, a 17-year-old high school junior, arrived Thursday at Westover Air Force Base to take the oath of enlistment to the National Guard. But he was not expecting the person who administered it.

Dupont’s father – Lt. Col. Daniel Dupont, a 29-year guard veteran – appeared via video teleconference from his post in Iraq – to induct his son.

“Well, stand up, state you name and raise your right hand,” the elder Dupont told his boy after the two bantered briefly on the teleconference about the young man passing his physical exam.

Seth Dupont’s eyes welled up as he repeated the oath, then he told his father he loved him.

“Congratulations, son,” his father told him. “I’m proud of you, man. I love you too. You made a good, strong decision.”

Seth Dupont is to begin training on weekends, one weekend a month at Camp Edwards at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. This summer he plans to go to basic training in Jackson, S.C. He said he knew his father would be observing the ceremony, but did not know he’d be giving the oath.

“They’ve been supportive of me 100 percent through this entire process. Dad inspired me,” he said of his parents.

Daniel Dupont, 50, is currently serving in Baghdad as a liaison officer to the multinational corps.

Maj. Glen Tynan, of the Massachusetts National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters based in Milford, is a family friend and recruiting officer, and he arranged the event.

“There’s not too many people who can say their first oath of enlistment was performed by their father,” Tynan said. “He’s always had the drive and ambition to be interested in his father’s career.”

Seth’s sister Megan and mother Linda also attended, along with his ROTC commander, Col. Kevin McGovern.

After the ceremony, the family was allowed to spend time having a private teleconference, out of view of reporters.

After he graduates from New Bedford High School, Seth will go to Fort Rucker in Alabama, where he’ll receive individual advanced training as an air traffic controller, with plans of one day becoming a helicopter pilot.

“I’m very proud of both my men,” Linda Dupont said. “It’s an honor to defend your country and stand up for people that are less fortunate.”

The event wasn’t without some good-natured ribbing between the father and son.

After giving the oath, Daniel Dupont ran his hands through his military-cut cropped hair and joked, “You wish you could look sexy like this.” His son replied, “Don’t worry, Dad, give me a few months.”

AP-ES-03-27-08 1645EDT

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