When the USN entered the Solomons back in August 1942, it was a "blue water" high seas, big ship, big gun Mahanian navy par excellance. Its officers had been brought up on--and the Naval War College had exhaustively taught--World War I's Anglo-German Battle of Jutland. In its war plans it dreamed of fighting its way across the wide, empty Central Pacific to defeat the IJN in one great decisive battle somewhere in the neighborhood of the Philippines. It never dreamed that it would also have to slog up the narrow, constricted, jungle-lined, badly charted Solomons seas.
The rampaging main Pacific aircraft carrier war was in fact fought for command of the sea, primarily against a large enemy fleet heavy itself with carriers, out in the broad expanses of blue water. It was a war of long distances, free maneuver, and huge air strikes, as we all know. It always provided the distant and sometimes the close cover for the other war.
The other--amphibious--war was on the contrary fought in narrow seas and restricted waters, exploiting this cover. It was fought against a largely shore enemy, by a series of expeditionary forces. The Navy here only reluctantly provided carriers for support, battleships for shore bombardment, transports and landing ships and craft, minesweepers and escorts, and the Marines to seize and hold its