When the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship Memorial was designated as a major site of national celebration for the 50th Anniversary of V-J Day, including a
probable visit from the President of the United States, Captain D. R. Scheu asked Dean Hardwoods what could be done to restore the ship’s Teak deck. Soon thereafter, he received an early morning visit from Chuck Dean with an idea.
The Forestry Minister from Myanmar (formerly called Burma) was bringing a delegation to Wilmington soon to visit Dean Hardwoods, a major U.S. importer of Teak. Dean reckoned that if the minister saw the ship, and learned of her important role in liberating the Pacific during World War II, perhaps he would want to lend a hand providing new Teak decking.
When His Excellency, Minister Chit Swe and his delegation visited Dean Hardwoods a month later, the Battleship Commission provided a red carpet tour of the ship, luncheon in the Admiral’s Cabin, and a visit to the “Role of Honor” where the names of the 10,000 North Carolinians who lost their lives in World War II are inscribed.
As a military man, the minister was obviously moved, and he promised to consult with his government to see if something could be done to help restore the great ship’s Teak deck.
Soon afterwards, the most generous donation in the Battleship Memorial’s history was received from the Government of the Union of Myanmar: the gift of two tractor trailer loads of the finest Teak decking in the world, valued at approximately one quarter million dollars, and a very substantial discount on another eight tractor-trailer loads of the precious wood, valued at another quarter million dollars, to permit the entire re-decking of the ship's more than one acre of deck.
Dean Hardwoods, in cooperation with the Asia-Pacific Exchange Foundation, initiated and helped facilitate the transaction free of charge, then kiln dried and manufactured the rough sawn Teak into finished decking for the U. S. S. North Carolina Battleship Memorial.