Even I wasn't sure where the Coral sea was, but as you can see, it was the road to Australia.
Land armies see the oceans as barriers, but Navy people see them as roads.
Having a land base to supply ships allows you to go furthur on. That is the importance of all holding islands: like a castle in land, you have a safe area to supply the ships to go out and fight again.
and having islands for airbases is based on a similar idea.
I've read a few post modern analyses ridiculing the military because so many lives were lost in capturing an island for a useless airbase, yet since this is after the fact, one doesn't really know what will happen in the future, so how did they "know" this was useless?
Mac Arthur also saw the oceans as "roads", which was part of his genius. So he often skipped islands to block off their supplies and left them "die on the vine"... the story of the left behind Japanese soldiers on these islands, in New Guinea, and in the mountains of Luzon is little known, but terrible.
and as my last article noted: before this battle, the Americans were inexperienced, but it was a learning experience that maybe made the difference at Midway.
The battle historically significant as the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.