PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The United States Coast Guard Cutter Legare returned to Portsmouth Friday morning.

The Legare is one of six, 270-foot cutters stationed out of the Base Support Unit Portsmouth. Its missions include law enforcement, search and rescue, protection of living marine resources, homeland security and defense operations, international training, and humanitarian operations, according to the United States Coast Guard.

The ship came back from its most recent mission where the crew sought to “conduct migrant interdiction and counterdrug operation in the Florida Straits and Carribean Sea,” according to a news release from the Coast Guard. The Legare spent 63 days rescuing migrants from what Commander Jeremy Greenwood called unseaworthy vessels.

One of the ship’s most notable rescues was that of more than 400 people from an overcrowded fifty-foot boat in Haiti.

Greenwood said the purpose of the mission was to stop dangerous migration attempts like those to keep those immigrating safe.

“That’s not the process that is safe or regular,” Greenwood said, “and so our job is to be out there trying to make sure there is an orderly system for migration to the United States and that nobody is being encouraged to take dangerous journeys that risk their lives, risk their families lives and end up with an unsuccessful entry into the United States.”

He said they partnered with the United States Citizenship and Immigration services as well as Customs and Border Protection to process each migrant safely and humanely.

“We make sure that everybody is screened, that they’re asylum requests, if they have any, is properly processed,” Greenwood said. “And if appropriate, they’re either further processed with our {something} agency or they’re returned to their home countries.”

Many families and friends stood in the rain early Friday ready to welcome back their loved ones.

Amy and Scott Jurgensen drove from Florida to meet their 18-year-old son as he stepped off the USCGC Legare.

“We’re so thankful that he found this journey and that we’re able to share it with him,” Amy Jurgensen said. It’s just been amazing. He’s 18-years-old and no 18-year-old would have such opportunities as he’s having right now. It’s just absolutely amazing.”

Scott said his son couldn’t imagine not saving lives and serving his country.

“When we asked him how he likes it, his response is he can’t see himself doing anything else right now,” Scott Jurgensen said. “So as a parent, what else can I ask for?”

Greenwood said the next mission for the Legare is coming up sometime soon, but for now it’s time for himself and his crew to rest.