Some of the family members were not too pleased with Tackett's answers. He did not know that soldiers sometimes have to pay $1 a minute to call home or that word came down that some soldiers were entitled to two weeks worth of leave.
"He's a general. He should be able to get more information," said Amber Clarke, of Falling Waters, W.Va.
Clarke's husband, Michael, joined the 157th in July 2002. "He (Tackett) needs to know more than we do."
Before the question-and-answer session began, Edwards said she wanted to know when the soldiers were coming home, whether their tours would be extended and whether it's true Guardsmen cannot be deployed for more than 24 months in a 36-month period.
Edwards' husband has left twice in the last two years. He and others in the 157th spent a year at Fort Benning in Georgia, came home for four months and then left for Iraq on Valentine's Day.
James Edwards now is stationed in Iraq at Al Hila, guarding prisoners and maintaining checkpoints, among other duties.
"They did this to be a part-time soldier," Tricia Edwards said. A part-time soldier, though, is not away from his family for nearly two years, she said.
Another hitch with the Guard is not in Edwards' future, Tricia Edwards said.
"I've got several friends that will not be re-enlisting," she said.
At the meeting, held at Heritage Hall in Inwood, many of the women wore pins that depicted photos of their husbands. About 30 people attended.
Tackett began his remarks by saying he knows family members have questions.
"Quite frankly, we don't know the answers," he said.
"War-fighters," not he or West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, are making decisions about West Virginia troops overseas, he said. He said he is not in communication with the active duty commanders.
In response to a question, Tackett said that Guard members' tours were extended to 365 days so replacement units could be scheduled and trained to take their place.
State Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Coleman, who answered some of the questions, said a federal law is in place that limits deployments to 24 months. However, he said that could change.
As far as when the soldiers are coming home, neither Tackett nor Coleman could give a specific date or even a general time frame. In early October, the soldiers should be told their "end date," or when they'll come home, both said.
Because the troops already served a year-long deployment in Georgia, if the 24-month law is followed, the soldiers would come home in February at the latest, Coleman said.
Once back, the soldiers will be taken to Fort Knox in Kentucky, where they'll fill out paperwork, receive physicals and undergo any needed medical treatment.
One woman asked about job security. Although it is illegal for a civilian employer to take away a Guardsman's job, Guard members can be moved to equivalent positions, Tackett said. As far as education, Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits are extended by the number of months a soldier is deployed, he said.
For the rest of their lives, the soldiers will be eligible for Veterans Affairs benefits.
"They are officially veterans after 180 days of active duty," Tackett said.
Although Tackett said he thinks the troops should not be deployed again for "a good while" - or at least six months - Tackett said there are no guarantees. War in another country could change any plans.
When Clarke told the general that she once went 23 days without speaking to her husband, Tackett tried to commiserate. During World War II, he said, his aunt and grandmother could not talk to his grandfather for three years.
"I have raised more hell than you'll ever know," Tackett told the group. "Bottom line is I can't bring your husbands home. If I could, I would have already done it."