Soldiers have complained about "horrible" living conditions, boredom and a lack of Olympics tickets as Boris Johnson visited their packed warehouse base in London.
The London mayor walked past soldiers sleeping on camp beds in the open, cramped rooms full of dozens of makeshift beds, people washing in plastic crates, smelly portable toilets and an outdoor kitchen as he visited the armed forces' accommodation in an old tobacco warehouse.
Some troops watched Britain win another rowing gold medal and posed for pictures with Mr Johnson, but others told stories of missing holidays and having nothing to do while on standby or on downtime.
Drafted into the capital as Olympics security back-up in the wake of the G4S scandal, some 2,000 Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force personnel now eat, live and sleep in Tobacco Dock in east London.
A group of four soldiers spoke to Mr Johnson in the eating area, made up of makeshift wooden tables and housing two television screens showing the Olympics. When asked by the mayor if they were having fun, they grimaced.
One of the group, Cornet Harry Thomas, of the Household Cavalry, said it was easy to be cynical about the mayor's visit after reports emerged of squalid conditions at the warehouse earlier this week.
Cornet Thomas said his unit was only on standby and so spent most of their time waiting to be called into action. But in their downtime, they could not get Olympics tickets and so did little much of the time.
He explained: "It's unfortunate because we're a back-up force, because we're not assigned to a venue a lot of our boys haven't been able to get in and see any of the Games. "He added: "Some of the guys tried to get in the venues a few days ago and had varying success."
"I heard about Boris's visit yesterday, it's easy to be cynical about it. The problem is, this clashes with leave. A lot of the boys had plans for when they were on leave. I don't think it (the tickets) would make up for it (missing plans on leave) but I think what it would do is it would give them (the soldiers) a bit of focus in their downtime and something to do."
Mr Johnson said of his visit: "It's been a chance for me to thank them and congratulate them and listen to what they have got to say - some of them want more free tickets - that's difficult to organise with a snap of the fingers."