*EDIT* I am an idiot. I now see parrot's edit subscript. I misread the thread. Now parrot can go to town on my post in the same way for not being leet enough like Barry.
Is there a way to make your network turned on by default? Yes.
You searched everywhere in the GRAPHIC menu, but your answer is on the command line.
Backtrack is a penetration testing distribution. This means that most of us who use it want the network card to remain off when we boot the operating system. It is done on purpose.
If you do some research into what files Linux reads on boot, you can create a shell script that will cause your networking to start each time you boot. Most of the work has already been done for you in this thread.