Began his service as a pirate under the leadership of Zhang Hu, the man who killed the former ruler of the Wu kingdom Sun Jian. During a campaign by Sun Ce to defeat Zhang Hu and to avenge his father Gan Ning enlisted under Zhang Hu simply for a good fight. During the battle Ling Cao of Wu rushed Gan Ning and was easily killed. His son Ling Tong was filled with rage and forced Gan Ning to retreat with heavy offense. later on during the years Wu enlisted Gan Ning because he could help there navy. Him and Ling Tong were bitter rivals at the begining but towards the end of the three kingdoms Gan Ning and LIng Tong became extremely close and were a strong offensive fighting force for the Wu kingdom.