Matthew Cobb

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Matthew Cobb
Titles Callsign: Mongrel
Profession DDF pilots
Groups DDF, Flight Instructor
World Detritus
Universe Skyward Universe
Featured In Skyward
This page or section contains spoilers for Skyward!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.

I feel like a munitions man, reloading artillery. I stuff you into the chamber, fire you into the sky, then grab another shell

—Cobb's speech on his teaching of flight classes

Captain Matthew[1] Cobb (callsign: Mongrel) is a flight instructor for the DDF. He fought the Battle of Alta making him a First Citizen.

Appearance and Personality

Cobb is a crusty fifty-year-old man who looked old. [2] He has grey in his hair and a stark white mustache that made him appear much older than he deserved to. [3] [4] He limps due to an injury caused during the Battle of Alta.

He doesn’t have a sense of humor and is very strict with his class. [3] Cobb cares for his students and grieves when they die. He has strong feelings against those who believe they should not eject when there is danger of dying. [5]

He is vocal about his feeling of spending so many lives in this war. Quoting he said: “I feel like a munitions man, reloading artillery. I stuff you into the chamber, fire you into the sky, then grab another shell”.[4]

Cobb is as open with his students and answers as many “hard questions” as he can. He talked about Krell strategy and other topics that seemed banned. [6]

He takes teaching seriously and wants his students to do the same. This to the point where he explained to his class the jokes played to rookies. It was also clear his class’s flight maneuvers were superior to the rest. [7]


He was the wing mate of Zeen Nightshade (callsign: Chaser), Spensa's father, and fought with him the Battle of Alta. [8] After Chaser came back from the sky and began to shoot down friendly ships, Cobb shot him down on Ironside's orders.

Spensa was given a non-pilot related exam to make sure she would not be accepted at flight school (DDF). She however stayed and answered Jorgen´s empty exam. Cobb reviewed it and after talking to her, he gave her a First Citizen pin to help her get in. He had to use his status and political position for this to happen. [9]

He met his new class and made sure it was clear to his students that he was not up for jokes. He takes training very seriously as he understands many of them will die or not graduate. He obeyed orders from Ironsides including sending his new class into the battlefield after just one day of training. [9]

Cobb was strict and tough with his class; he covered flight maneuvers, weapons and strategy. He was also monitoring, guiding and giving orders during the battles they participated while on training. [10]

When Morningtide and Bim died, he intended not to talk about it and worked them hard to forget. When he saw the discomfort of the team, he tried to give a speech: “I feel like a munitions man, reloading artillery. I stuff you into the chamber, fire you into the sky, then grab another shell”. This unsettled them more and Spensa jumped in with a better speech about aiming for the sky where they are now. As soon as she finished, Cobb just asked them to stop wasting time and put their helmets on. [4]

After some more training, battles and many questions from the team on Krell tactics, Cobb shared with them some confidential intelligence on both the Krell, the planet and history. Not much, but enough to help the team to understand more about them and the possibility of intelligent machines, which reminded Spensa of M-Bot. [11]

He also let them know the fights used in the simulation are modifications of real battles, one in particular was the Battle of Trajerto and it was used to explain that if they needed to choose between Alta and Igneous, the second one is more important. They had to destroy Alta on that particular simulation. This gave Spensa the idea of looking for the Battle of Alta on the archives. [11]

After the battle where Hurl died, he gave an angry speech about people who don’t eject. He asked them to choose their life above being called cowards or trying to save the ship. He explained Hurl would not be buried with any honors as the pod was destroyed. He gave them a medical leave for a week and moved to write her parents a letter. [5]

He helped Spensa learn the truth about her father and followed through explaining people believe there is a genetic defect for his actions and asked her if she saw eyes in the dark or could hear the stars as her father had confessed he had, before the incident. [12]

During the Second Battle of Alta, he is contacted by M-Bot who had written a new program for itself and decided to help Spensa who was in severe danger. Cobb answered the call and flew for the first time in years to save Spensa and managed to do so. After they reunited, he gave M-Bot to Spensa. [13]

Attributes and Abilities

Cobb was an excellent pilot who stopped flying after the Battle of Alta due to the trauma it caused him. [14]

As First Citizen he became an instructor for new pilots; a job he excels at not only because he manages to teach complex flight moves, tactics and techniques; but because he does care for his students. [3] [7]

As commander of his flight, he chooses tactics based on the danger his crew would be exposed to.[15] Because of this, his class is considered the safest one.[16]



Cobb was the only adult who stepped up for her. [9] At his class, he treated her exactly the same as any other student. He was outraged at her not being able to eat with the rest and did his best to change it. He was not successful but still encouraged her to keep fighting. [17] He also gives her a personal radio to get in touch with her if needed.[18]

Spensa later finds out from him he is the one who shot down her father, and that the official story of him running away was a lie. This did not alienate her from him. Cobb is found reviewing her moves during battle and his concerns on her being like her father starts to grow, which leads him to help her on learning the truth. [14]

Cobb eventually gave Spensa his code to the DDF archive where she could copy the recording of the Battle of Alta, so she can learn the truth.[19] He later gave her more details including that her father claimed to see hundreds of small eyes or could hear the stars. [12]

After Spensa ejected and was expelled from the DDF; he wanted her to fight to stay in school, however she confessed on seeing the eyes and hearing the stars. He agreed it was best for her to stand down. [20]

During the Second Battle of Alta, he saves Spensa by flying MBOT. [13]


Judy Ironsides was Cobb’s fight leader in the Battle of Alta, she was the one who ordered him to shoot down Chaser. [14]

Cobb had been more sensitive to all deaths than her and this difference seemed to have alienated them. She respects him but stands firm on her decisions. The other disagreement is on the existence of the defect causing Chaser to become a traitor, and moreover that this would be passed to Spensa. [21]


Cobb knows and acknowledges Jorgen’s background and gives him the fight leader position since he first day. [3] Still, he is as tough with him as with anyone, snapping at him when arrogant. He does give good leadership advice and wants him to earn respect. [17]


That wasn't a joke!, I don't joke!

— Cobb to his team when meeting them [3]

That was somehow the most embarrassing and inspiring display I’ve ever seen out of cadets! You should be ashamed. And proud.

— Cobb to his team after their first battle [17]

If you’ve got time to argue, I’m obviously not working you hard enough

— Cobb interruption of a Jorgen-Spensa argument. [18]


  • His first name, Matthew, is very rarely used, even by his own family.[1]


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