Cannon, community volunteers begin to unearth Blacktower site

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Sr. Airman Zayed Antonio was one of about 15 volunteers who came to the Blacktower cemetery to help uncover graves during Saturday’s clean up day.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Stepping into the shoes of archeologists, volunteers from Cannon Air Force Base and the community carefully removed several feet of blown sand, inch by inch from historic Blacktower Cemetery.

Capt. Glen Smith, who is leading the project, said the two-day clean-up was going well, but that it was just the beginning of a long project.

Smith said about 15 volunteers helped with the project on Friday and Saturday, each with a shovel in their hands.

“We fully realize that this isn’t a one weekend deal,” he said. “If we’re done by Memorial Day next year, I’ll be ecstatic.”

Smith and 2nd Lt. Raymond Gobberg at Cannon public affairs are jointly heading up the project to discover lost graves in the cemetery.

Smith said the group found a fence post, part of a headstone and an old bottle on Friday.

Saturday, they turned up pieces of granite