The visit marked Obama's first non-personal trip outside Washington since she became first lady.
"It was a very meaningful visit for me," the first lady said in remarks this afternoon in nearby Fayetteville.
Obama told the audience that when you meet a soldier, you can't help but notice "the pride that they have for the work that they do." She added that military families need more help from the rest of the country.
"Military families bear a very heavy burden, and again they do it without complaint, but as a nation we need to find a way to lighten their load," she said.
The first lady shared hugs with soldiers and posed for photos at Fort Bragg, according to a pool report. She also read Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" to a dozen three- through five-year-old children of servicemen.
Obama, who has said she will advocate for military families, also held closed door meetings with families today.
Sgt. 1st Class Ashlyn Lewis, who crossed paths with the first lady today, told the Associated Press that her biggest concern is medical care for veterans.
"Right now the biggest concern would be taking care of the vets, making sure that the people that are coming home are getting the proper medical care — not just for the Iraqi or Afghanistan vets, but also, there are a lot of Vietnam vets who haven't been receiving the proper care," she said. "I believe (the Obamas) are headed in the right direction, but it's going to be a lot of work."