Dorothy Mae Nichols was born in Seattle, Washington in 1916. Her family moved to Los Angeles, California shortly after that. She graduated from UCLA in 1938. She joined the Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots (WASPs) in 1943 and became a pilot. She flew fighter aircraft from factories to Army Air Force airfields. She was killed in a crash of a P-39 during takeoff at Minot AFB, North Dakota in 1944.