Sergeant Major Cortes enlisted in the Marine Corps on 16 September 1998 from Chicago, IL and attended Recruit Training at 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA. Upon completion, he received training at Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, CA and then to Camp Johnson, NC for Personnel Administration School where he received the MOS 0151 for Basic Administration where he received full certification as an Administration Clerk.
In March 1999, Private First Class Cortes reported to Marine Security Guard Battalion, Quantico, VA where he served in the S-3 as a MCI and Tuition Assistance Clerk.
In March 2002, Corporal Cortes received orders to Operations Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Quantico, VA. He served as an Administration/Training NCO. In October 2005, Sergeant Cortes received orders to Drill Instructor School, Class 1-06, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA. Upon completion of Drill Instructor School, Sergeant Cortes was then assigned to Company A, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. During his tour as a drill instructor, he filled the billets of a Drill Instructor, Senior Drill Instructor and Series Chief Drill Instructor.
In January 2009, Staff Sergeant Cortes received orders to Installation Personnel Administration Center, Headquarters Battalion, Marine Air Ground Combat Center,Twentyninepalms, CA where he served as the Legal Chief.
In September 2009, Staff Sergeant Cortes received orders to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron-1, Marine Air Control Group-38, Twentyninepalms, CA and served as the Administration Chief and Squadron Gunnery Sergeant. During this tour, he deployed twice to Afghanistan, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
In June 2012, Gunnery Sergeant Cortes received orders to Headquarters Marine Corps, Manpower Management Enlisted Assignments Quantico, VA as the Assistant 8999 Monitor.
In September 2013, First Sergeant Cortes received orders to 1st Battalion, 3d Marines Honolulu, HI where he served under Company C and Weapons Company. First Sergeant Cortes participated in two-unit deployment programs to Okinawa, Japan.
In August 2016, First Sergeant Cortes received orders to Headquarters Company, Combat Logistics Regiment-3, Okinawa, Japan as the Company First Sergeant.
In May 2018, Sergeant Major Cortes received orders to 3d Battalion, 12th Marines, and in August 2020 received orders to activate 3d Landing Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment-3, Okinawa, Japan as the Battalion Sergeant Major.
In July 2022, Sergeant Major Cortes received orders to his current assignment as the Regiment Sergeant Major of 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, CA.
Sergeant Major Cortes' personal decorations include Meritorious Service Medal in lieu of third award, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal in lieu of fourth award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal in lieu of second award, and the 2012 Sergeant Major Frederick B. Douglas Award.