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The Boiling Rock
Commander/Captain Ty Lee's military career began in the infamous Fire Nation prison of the Boiling Rock. To ensure her new enemies Mai and Ty Lee received no preferential treatment, Azula ordered the Warden relieved and reassigned, and command transferred to her executive officer, who willingly went along with her plans to torment Ty Lee.
About three weeks into their incarceration, the Kyoshi Warriors were sent there in an attempt to prevent them from fulfilling their duties as soldiers and escaping. The moment they realized she was there they automatically assumed she was a plant. Then she saved one of their number, Michiko Kurosawa from being raped by a fellow prisoner. This allowed them to make peace with her and for her to impart her chi blocking abilities to the Kyoshi Warriors, who promptly signed her up. A week later, a riot led to the deaths of the senior Kyoshi Warriors, throwing their command structure into chaos. Ty Lee proved her exceptional leadership skills by taking command during the fight to keep their flanks from being rolled up before the Fire Nation guards could restore order. The remaining warriors accepted her as their acting commanding officer.
Upon hearing this, Azula began a campaign of attacking the Warriors to torment Ty Lee. She ordered Michiko, her closest Kyoshi Warrior friend and executive officer tormented while all she could do was listen, as well as take her non-Kyoshi Warrior lover and had him beaten so badly she could barely recognize him when they were done.
After the war, Suki formalized her position by making her a unit commander and giving her command of the swift response unit.
The Azula Crisis
Ty Lee's duties as a peacetime soldier were interrupted by an attack by pro-Azula rebels on Kyoshi Island. They were seeking to capture the airship heavy cruiser Dawn Under Heaven part of the Fire Nation-Earth Kingdom Joint Air Superiority Cruiser Project. The airship was under construction on the island and due to be given over to a Kyoshi Warrior officer of Suki's choosing in gratitude to the Kyoshi Warrior's for their role in ending the war. Ty Lee was the logical choice for that position given her background as the granddaughter of a Fire Nation naval officer, and the fact that much of her childhood was spent on warships as a result. Ty Lee led the Kyoshi Warrior counterattack that drove enemy forces off the island and secured the ship. She was made the ship's commanding officer after the attack.
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