This vessel and her registry were not referenced in dialog. Both appeared on screen in the background artwork for the plans to Operation Retrieve. In the artwork, the Ahwahnee was represented by the silhouette of a Constitution-classheavy cruiser.
The Star Trek Encyclopedia mistakenly claims that this starship was named after a Native American tribe. In actual fact, Ahwahnee was the Miwok tribe's name for the Yosemite Valley and was usually translated into English as, "valley that looks like a gaping mouth."
According to a ship list included in the plans, and not seen in the extended cut of the movie, the Ahwahnee was commanded by D. Tathwell, and the ship was located in Sector 21835.