By the morning of 23 February, Mount Suribachi was effectively cut off above ground from the rest of the island. The Marines knew that the Japanese defenders had an extensive network of below-ground defenses, and knew that in spite of its isolation above ground, the volcano was still connected to Japanese defenders via the tunnel network. They expected a fierce fight for the summit. Two four-man patrols were sent up the volcano to reconnoiter routes on the mountain's north face. Popular legend (embroidered by the press in the aftermath of the release of the famous photo) has it that the Marines fought all the way up to the summit. Although American riflemen expected an ambush, they encountered only small groups of Japanese defenders on Suribachi. The majority of the Japanese troops stayed in the tunnel network, only occasionally attacking in small groups, and were generally all killed. The patrols made it to the summit and scrambled down again, reporting the lack of enemy contact to the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines commander, Colonel Chandler Johnson. Johnson then called for a platoon of Marines to climb Suribachi and capture the summit; with them, he sent a small American flag to fly if they reached the summit. The Marines again anticipated an ambush, but they reached the top of Mount Suribachi without incident. Using a length of pipe they found among the wreckage atop the mountain, the Marines hoisted the U.S. flag attached to the pipe over Mount Suribachi: the first foreign flag to fly on Japanese soil. Photographs of this "first flag raising" scene were taken by photographer Louis R. Lowery.