Kokesh enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1999 during his junior year at the Native American Preparatory School in Rowe, New Mexico as part of the Delayed Entry Program. He was originally assigned to November Battery, 5th Battalion, 14th Regiment of the 4th Division. In 2004, he volunteered for deployment to Iraq as part of the 1st Regiment Detachment of the 3rd Civil Affairs Group and served in Fallujah from February to September 2004, where he was engaged in several firefights. Kokesh was promoted to Sergeant shortly after arriving in Iraq.
In April 2009, Adam Kokesh supporters created a draft website to encourage Kokesh to run for United States Congress representing New Mexico's 3rd congressional district. Soon after, Kokesh launched an exploratory committee, and on July 4, 2009, he officially announced his candidacy at a supporter rally. On the same day, supporters formed a moneybomb that raised more than $25,000 in a 24 hour period. On July 21, 2009, Kokesh announced that he would be running as a libertarian-oriented Republican and is receiving support from Ron Paul.